KWM Whisky Advent Calendar 2017: Day 22

22 12 2017

By Tyler Derksen

For those of you that have been following along at home as Peter and I have explored each of the whiskies thus far in the KWM Whisky Advent Calendar, you will note that there has been a wide variety of offerings from a number of different countries.  It is a testament to the hard work of Andrew Ferguson and Kensington Wine Market that there have been no duplicate producers…that is, until tonight.  It was with a sense of excitement and trepidation that I reached through the little cardboard door and found a familiar cylindrical container.  Glenfiddich.  Again.  Of all of the whisky that I have tried this Advent season, it was the Glenfiddich 15 that has most disappointed.  As I said back on Day 10, that is not to say that it is a bad whisky, I just think it tries too hard to appeal to too many people and sacrifices character for such mass appeal.

Just as one must seek out the opinions or views of those with whom they disagree in order to grow intellectually, so too must one be willing to try all kinds of whisky in order to grow as an uisgeophile.  I wouldn’t normally go out of my way to purchase a bottle of Glenfiddich, so I looked forward to sampling a new offering.  Today’s whisky is the Glenfiddich 18 Year Old Small Batch Reserve, which is the most aged whisky I’ve tried from the distillery.


This Glenfiddich 18 was aged in Spanish Oloroso sherry casks and American oak and each batch is individually numbered (apparently only on full-sized bottles, as the 40 ml sampler doesn’t have a number).  In doing some research on how this whisky was made, Glenfiddich once again uses the word “consistency” in its marketing.  Sigh.

The colour was a golden colour in the glass with a fascinating ring around the outside that looked almost clear.  The nose was much more pronounced than the 15 Year I tried a couple of weeks ago.  The sherry cask influence comes through clearly on the nose, with dried fruit taking centre stage along with oatmeal raisin cookie, cinnamon, vanilla, sawdust and a spritz of citrus.  I needn’t have been so concerned about the looming spectre of “consistency”, as the flavour was actually quite enjoyable.  The palate was brighter than expected, with flavours of vanilla, orange, pear and baking spices.  Despite being bottled at the same 40% as the 15 Year Old Solera, this whisky has a nice slow burn to follow the bright palate, which was unexpected but appreciated.  Overall, this whisky certainly exceeded my (admittedly tempered) expectations and I’m glad of the opportunity to try it.



Whisky Advent Calendar: Day 10

10 12 2014

Here come the internationals!  After 9 consecutive days of scotch whisky, the KWM finally departed Scotland’s shores and ventured all the way to…well, Ireland for Day 10.  But a short hop is better than no hop at all!  I’m delighted to start checking out the other whiskies of the free world, and almost as delighted to finally get to spell it as I’m naturally inclined to:  “whiskey”.  The bottle told me I could.  I read recently that a handy guide for how you should spell the word “whisky” with respect to a given bottle is to look at where it’s from:  if it’s from a country without an “E” in its name (like Scotland, or Japan), don’t put an E in “whisky”, but if there is an “E” in its name (like Ireland, or the United States), put an E in “whiskey”.  Not sure if that holds up across the board, but it works here.

Stellar looking bottle plus an E in "whiskey" to boot. I'm happy.

Stellar looking bottle plus an E in “whiskey” to boot. I’m happy.

Tonight’s whiskEy is a small batch Irish Whiskey from Teeling distillery, which is a high-malt blend finished for 6 months in ex-rum barrels (take that, Oloroso sherry casks!) and bottled at 46%.  There’s not much that legally differentiates Irish whiskey from scotch whisky apart from their country of origin, although Irish whiskies are almost never peated, are usually distilled three times in a pot still and tend to be less regulated in terms of contents.

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