Whisky Review: The Glenfiddich 125th Anniversary Edition
Ok, this is a review I am very late in writing up, but it is one that I’ve been so eager to talk about! Wait, eager to talk about a Glenfiddich, you ask? I know, I know. sometimes the idea of a Glenfiddich whisky doesn’t necessarily cause you to suffer tremors of excitement. Sure, Glenfiddich is a tried and true, quality whisky, but sometimes it does lack any real wow factor. Let’s be honest, though, that may be a curse related to its status as one of the world’s biggest selling malts. But this is no ordinary Glenfiddich; this particular Glenfiddich is different! And I can easily and honestly say that The Glenfiddich 125th Anniversary Edition is, without question, my absolute favorite Glenfiddich of all time, well, at least so far, anyway!
The Glenfiddich 125th Anniversary Edition was released in celebration of the 125th anniversary of the opening of the Glenfiddich distillery. This is a whisky so limited that even the official Glenfiddich website has no mention of it! Sadly, as with most limited editions, this one is no longer available through retail outlets, so finding one of these bottles means you have to go to an auction house and try your luck!
Since most people know the core range of the Glenfiddich malts, and its rather delicate, fruity nature, what is it exactly that makes this particular whisky distinct? The Glenfiddich 125th Anniversary Edition was made using a combination of peated and unpeated whiskies aged in Spanish ex-Sherry butts and American ex-bourbon casks. Yes, you heard that right….this is a peated Glenfiddich! And this isn’t one of those whiskies with just a distant hint of peat – this is a full-fledged, smoke-first, peated whisky!
So, if the Glenfiddich 125th Anniversary Edition is such a rare and exclusive whisky, how did I come to have a bottle in my possession? Well, sometimes it is good to know the right people! I’d met David Allardice, the Glenfiddich Brand Ambassador a few times and we talked about whisky…naturally. Later, I invited him to present at one of our Newcomers Whisky Club events. He graciously accepted – and his presentation, and the accompanying selection of whiskies – was one of our club’s true highlights! To this day, our members still talk about what a great experience it was! But back to the whisky! Being the consummate nice guy, at the end of the evening, David left me with a partially filled bottle of this fabulous whisky! Although I know that I am getting way ahead of myself, giving away the plot, and ruining the actual review at the same time, I will tell you now that I thoroughly enjoyed this whisky! And since then, every time I see David, I tell him how I think that Glenfiddich need to put out a regular release of peated whisky! Now if only they would listen to me!
Okay, let’s get to the review!
Review: The Glenfiddich 125th Anniversary Edition, Released 2012, 43% abc
Color: Light amber
Nose: There is no mistaking the peat in this whisky, it greets you before you even get close to the glass. The peat shows an earthy backbone but with some rubber bands, old tires, and seaweed. If you are patient, from behind the peat come notes of brown sugar and Creme Brule, cloves and nutmeg, ripe red apples, cinnamon, peaches, dark chocolate, cigar leaves, and vanilla cream. Just beautiful! Adding just a couple of drops of water makes the peat a tad smokier, but also brings out more Creme Brule and brown sugar to start, As the whisky settles, it returns to its very elegant mix of fruit and sweet notes, the soft spices, the chocolate and the ever-present smoky, earthy peat.
Taste: An elegant and soft arrival that starts out with the sweeter vanilla, brown sugar, and fruit notes, then the peat mixes in, bringing its earthiness, a hint of the rubber bands, and a softly ashy element. Apples in vanilla cream, milk chocolate now instead of the dark chocolate, herbal spices, and the stone fruits. Water really isn’t needed and I’m sure that if you added more than a few drops, it might do it more harm than you want, but the few drops I added were sufficient to keep this one interesting, letting the peat, fruits and spices tickle your tongue!
Finish: Sweet orchard fruits and vanilla toffee, the clove and cinnamon spices, a growing earth peat with a soft, ashy ending. Very good length, too!
Overall: In true Glenfiddich fashion, there are no sharp edges in this whisky, even with its peated nature. Perhaps it is the 43% abv, perhaps it is just blended to be this delicate, but the balance and mouthfeel is just right. Sure, a little higher abv would put a little more oomph into this whisky, but this remains spot on as it was bottled. The flavors are complex, rising and falling over time, keeping you very engaged. The peat is perfectly balanced with the other flavors. The addition of water isn’t necessary as the low abv% keeps this very approachable and it really doesn’t alter the character.
The best part for me is definitely the nose. It is a really beautiful nose that will keep you occupied for a long time, if you can resist the urge to drink this too quickly! The lone detraction, and it is not really that much of a detraction, is the low abv. A few percentage points higher would probably make this absolutely sing!
Type: Single Malt
Age: No Age Statement
ABV: 43% abv
Maturation: Spanish ex-Sherry butts, American oak ex-bourbon casks.
Price: +/- $125 USD via auction
Availability: Secondary market only
Sample Source: a partial bottle gift from David Allardice, Glenfiddich Brand Ambassador