G’day guys and welcome to the big leagues lads. I’m here with some of the definitive top-shelf liquor, single malt scotch whisky. And Glenfiddich is one of the biggest names in Scotch.
The label is named after a glen nearby the Duffletown distillery; Glenfiddich being Gaelic for the “valley of the deer”. Which, evidently explains the particularly handsome stag on the label. Like you’d expect, this label has been in the business for a while to rise to such a point of success. From the time the distillery was first founded in eighteen-eighty-seven, the founder, William Grunt and his nine children first drew liquor from his still on Christmas day and the brand was born. The label got traction quickly for its innovative ideas. In nineteen-sixty-three Glenfiddich became the first label to brand it’s whisky as single malt and gained popularity, all of the bottles in it’s range being solely single malt. Boosting its popularity through the roof. I think we all remember the character David Horton from Dawn French’s comedy The Vicar of Dibley, the stern stiff-upper-lipped mayor of Dibley who always kept a decanter of scotch whisky on hand, Glenfiddich as we learn in the pilot. An image I think reflects the label’s intended image – Scotch served in a cut glass decanter in a rustic cottage in a green, dewy foggy hillock in the countryside of the United Kingdom. Enjoyed by Earls and Dukes, people with estates, the old-money. With their tweed blazers and flat caps, an old side by side shotgun broken slung over one arm, the other clutching a handful of pheasants hanging from their grasp, and a pipe in their mouth, smoke half from the tobacco and half from the frosty afternoon air as their spaniels run alongside them wirey and wide-eyed from the excitement of their bred instinct to flush game from the bushes and the sound of birdshot firing and whizzing overhead. And they sit down in front of their fireplace, the cobwebbed antlers of red stags above the mantle, the smoke from their pipes clouding the ceiling and they sip their scotch in the cool crisp air of the Scottish night as their dogs, finally calm, sleep at their feet. I very rarely am fortunate enough to be in weather cool enough to enjoy scotch neat, so on the rocks will have to suffice.
Scotch then, especially single malt scotch whisky, is a symbol of class and sophistication. Clearly, a more immature psyche would taste peat smoke in a malt and spit it out and comment negatively on it. I for one, love scotch. I love the taste of peat it brings to the table that very few others do, and those who do are following in the Scots footsteps. So with such a successful history, Glenfiddich then, must be famous and successful for a reason. So with anticipating taste buds, I start towards the bottle. The Glenfiddich bottle is unmistakable, stripping away the branding will do nothing. The bottle is green and triangular. Distinctive. The label is green and textured, with glossy gold trim. The stag on the label shining in the light. The bottle, by the way, comes packaged in a robust tin box. Likewise green and triangular. The closure, a cork. So, let’s try the nose. I take a deep breath in as I open it for the first time, expecting a deep, brash pungence of peat to hit my sinuses like a car. But to my surprise, the peat is fairly tame. Boisterous, notes of chocolate and oak mixed with the peat. I pour over ice and the nose is mostly unchanged except for the changes to be expected on ice, scotch on ice smells crisp and refreshing, like a summer storm, Glenfiddich brings with it also on ice a subtle sweet nose similar to that of lager. So let’s give it a taste. As I give it a first sip, the taste of peat comes rushing onto the taste buds. The taste moves like it’s nature, smoke, and envelops the tongue for a second. And flames up to a thick spice on the tip of the tongue. But I sip again, now used to the burn of the scotch. The taste changes distinctly. This time it’s sweet, like green apple, surrounded by peat and a tasteless spice sensation, and a subtle background of orange juice eases me out to the finish and the scotch leaves an apple-y aftertaste in the mouth.
In closing: Though this scotch is somewhat light in peat on the tongue, and on my first glass seemed far too fruity for a scotch (until I realized this was attributed to being watered down by the ice in the glass), it is a well rounded scotch in every other aspect. It’s a very easygoing whisky. And as for whether or not I endorse it, while the rest of the world hails it as a hero, I could go either way…but I’d hate to unintentionally say a bad word against what is probably a leading scotch because I focus my attention in whiskey on the Irish. Some day in the future I may come back after sampling other single malt scotches and proclaim this to be the best, but for now, it is simply a nice scotch.