It’s fashionable in some whisky circles to dismiss Glenfiddich 12 as a ‘beginner’s whisky’. It’s understandable for two reasons: first, it’s an exponent of the soft, fruity Speyside style that a lot of people recommend to whisky newbies (personally I think the idea of a soft, fruity style for beginners and a heavy, smoky or sherried style for ‘advanced’ drinkers is a fallacy, but more on that elsewhere). Second, it has been the most ubiquitous single malt for a good few decades now – dismissing it therefore announces that you are sophisticated and cool enough to have moved past this really commercial whisky. Luckily for my blog’s substantial devoted fanbase (hi mum!), my sophistication and coolness exceed even those levels, so here’s a review of the Glenfiddich 12 year-old. It has remained, over the years, a very consistent and affordable expression, especially as other distilleries drop the age statements of their entry-level bottlings.
Nose: Malty, fruity, very pleasant. This is one of those platonic whiskies I return to every once in a while to check my nose is working well. Apples, pears, an appealing malty sweetness, and a very light honeyed note. Toffee, vanilla and caramel round it off.
Palate: The apples here become more tart (cider), and there is a surprisingly good body. It’s light but not lightweight. The tartness is balanced by vanilla and some mild oaky spiciness. Middle of the road perhaps, but it’s very well made.
Finish: Short, but it doesn’t drop off a cliff, which is a pleasant surprise given the low strength. Fresh and fruity.
Comments: This won’t set the world on fire but it’s an honest bright Speysider that has remained consistent over the years. Be careful when adding water though – while it makes the nose sweeter it doesn’t take much for the palate to become flat.