A rare chance now to evaluate three of Glenfiddich’s core range side by side. This was another whisky-themed Christmas present from my father-in-law, and it is comprised of three 20cl sample bottles. Not enough to get a full impression, but enough to spend a couple of pleasant evenings. We have the standard 12 year old, the 15 year old Solera Vat expression (both of which I’ve tried before), and the jewel in the standard Glenfiddich crown, the 18 year old.
I drank most of the 12 year old at various points, then saved the last bit for a suitable weekend when I could pour measures of all three together.
A few words on presentation first. The box these are presented in is very nice. It’s sturdy and precise, fitting each of the bottles side by side. The bottles themselves are smaller representations of your standard Glenfiddich bottle, adjusted for the particular vagaries of each expression. Also, they are all 40%.
The method this time went thusly; I tried the 12 first, and compared it with the 15. Then tried the 18, comparing that with the 15, before finally trying the 12 again and comparing it with the 18. Then I pretty much alternated two sips of each, making notes when I could think of anything. For context: I was watching the World Snooker Championship, having a nice time on my own.
First impressions of the 12 were that after a break of a few weeks, it was excellent – reliable, and enjoyable. On the nose I thought maybe there was a bit of cherry. I sniffed the 15 and, in contrast to the previous time I’d had a bottle, where there had been a strong impression of blood oranges, this time it was a more subtle aroma of apple juice. The 18, on the other hand, gave an impression of white wine.
On the palate, I noticed that the 15 is far more full-bodied than the 12; it is almost like a paste [not really, but that was the direct impression]. The 18 just struck me as a bit disappointing, though it did start to grow in the mouth.
Ultimately I don’t think there is enough in these bottles for me to fully appraise the product. I know that I like the 12 already; it’s a decent go-to, entry level malt and it’s good value. Similarly, I also know already that I like the 15. It offers something a bit different (though it didn’t strike me so much that way this time), and it too, is good value for those extra 3 years. What I can’t ultimately decide is what I think of the 18. It doesn’t strike me as that different from the 12, and at more than double the price, I fail to see the value or the attraction.
I returned to try the 18 alongside the 15, and again, I just couldn’t detect enough of a difference. You can’t deny that they are good and consistent quality across the range, but why you’d want to part with more than £60 for the 18 when you can get the 15 for around £30 and the 12 for less than £30, I just can’t fathom from this selection of 20cl tasters.