The core Glenfiddich range – a very solid and tasty range at that – of what appeals to the general whisky drinking population remains the same. Thankfully no drastic measures are being taken like eliminating age statements or any nonsense like that. Instead, Glenfiddich released a pair of new whiskies that should peak the interests of those that are more than just the casual whisky drinkers.
The first new release is the Malt Master’s Edition. As the name suggests, this release is a nod to Glenfiddich’s Malt Master, Brian Kinsman. What makes this release unique for Glenfiddich is that it is double matured. The Malt Master’s Edition is composed of whisky that was aged 6-8 years is ex-Bourbon casks and then aged an additional 4-6 years in Sherry casks.
On the nose I got a lot more of the sherry influence. But on the palate more of the bourbon casks came through in the spices, vanilla and cherry flavors. This whisky nicely walks the line of smooth but lively. Coming in at 43%ABV this formerly distillery only release will be available in the US this month at a reasonable $80.
The second release is definitely a lot more rarefied: the 1974 Vintage Reserve. There is a vintage released annually but this is the first time that the whisky is a vatting of casks. This is a vatting of both Sherry and Bourbon casks all from 1974 (guaranteed 36 years old). There were only 1,000 bottles made available worldwide and only 35 allocated for the US market. The brand ambassadors helped to select this vintage by converging on the distillery and sampling whiskies from 1973, 1974 and 1975. The hands down winner of the sampling was the whisky from 1974.
The 1974 Vintage Reserve comes in at 46.8% ABV and has a very lively nose – and not just for its age. I got a lot of pears that I usually associate with Glenfiddich as well as some tropical fruits. With the addition of water I picked up a little more oak influence as well as a nice earthiness, almost rutty. A very beautiful whisky, unfortunately it is extremely limited and out of the price range for most of us.