A lot of distillers these days have what you might call ‘fan clubs’. Often you get newsletters and the occasional opportunity to buy exclusive bottlings, or discounted regular bottles. Laphroaig even give you a square foot of land, and pay you a rent of one dram per year if you go and visit them (and yes, I’ve collected that rent!)
Earlier this year, Glenfiddich invited me (and presumably other members of their ‘Explorers’ fan club) to recommend a friend to join, and in return offered a personalised bottle. I had assumed this would be a standard miniature, so imagine my (happy) surprise when it turned out to be a 35cl half bottle of their 12 year old whisky. For you and your friend.
It’s quite a pale straw gold colour in the glass, with a clean, fresh nose. There’s a hint of sweet fudge, a nicely restrained alcohol heat and a pleasant green fruit aroma.
With water, those fruit notes become distinctly reminiscent of sharp green apples, and there’s more of a honey edge to the sweetness.
There’s plenty of sweetness on the tip of the tongue with the first sip – suggestions of fresh green fruit again, and smooth almost to the point of creaminess. Over time, an almost pepper like heat builds, leading into a long but fairly gentle finish which leaves your mouth quite dry.
Watered, again there’s a hint of apple coming through, and the creaminess is less pronounced. It also takes the harshness out of the finish, and makes it a dangerously quaffable dram.
Although it’s not the most complex, it is a well rounded, fresh and easy drinking whisky. Definitely worth sharing with a friend.
Master of Malt sells the Glenfiddich 12 Year Old for £25.99 at the time of writing.