Well, better late than never I suppose...
Tulip nosing glass used throughout.Glenfiddich 12yo (40%, OB)Colour:
Quite light and sweet, mostly on caramel and honey. Also a little honeycomb and faint chocolate - reminds me of Cadbury's Crunchie bars at times! Slightly minty. Quite fruity too, with citrus and melon standing out but also slight banana notes. A faint soapiness? A little dusty and oaky. Some grassy notes as well, and possibly a few wisps of smoke in the background.Palate:
Thin and a little watery. Mainly fruity (citrus, some pear) and sweet again, with a little caramel present, but there's little else that I can pick up.Finish:
Pleasant - sweet and quite minty with a nice fruitiness, but it's much too short. Becomes faintly drying after a minute or so.Glenfidich 15yo Solera Reserve (40%, OB)Colour:
Fairly rich and sherried. Fragrant and lightly grassy. Marzipan, icing sugar, honey. Chocolate. Coffee and burnt/very dark treacle toffee. Slight notes of sulphur and earth. Smoke? The distillery's fruity profile comes through after a little while, though it's somewhat muted. Becomes lightly soapy and dusty with time.Palate:
Sweet but quite thin and watery. Creamy and a little malty. Faintly fruity. Vague chocolate notes. A little lime? (Clutching at straws here though). Quite fragrant and soapy. Oddly quiet.Finish:
Grassy at first, possibly with a little glue, but after a few seconds it becomes much sweeter and basically turns into an abridged version of the nose, including the soft sulphuric notes.Glenfiddich 18yo Ancient Reserve (40%, OB)Colour:
Sweet, warm, malty and a little dusty. Honey, eucalyptus. Lots of fruit (pear, melon, other 'exotic' fruits). Toffee. Cocoa powder. Slightly buttery and spicy. Vaguely smoky and yeasty.Palate:
Malty again and a little spicy, with a sherried sweetness. Creamy. Some oak present. Fruity. Good balance.Finish:
Sweet, with a little mint. Honey. Some malt, grass and fruit. The grass and honey last a while.Glenfiddich 21yo Caribbean Rum Cask (40%, OB)Colour:
Sweet and fragrant, with the rum influence being obvious but not overpowering. Malt and grass. A little mint. Marzipan and something akin to Turkish Delight chocolate. All sorts of fruit, though mainly citrus.Palate:
Very sweet and fruity - the rum adds an extra layer of fruit to the already fruit-filled Glenfiddich character. Malty and very faintly yeasty. A hint of chocolate.Finish:
Sweet again, becoming slightly more bitter over time. Mint appears after a few seconds, as does gentle rum, cocoa powder and fruit. A faint lavender note appears some time later.Glenfiddich 30yo (40%, OB)Colour:
Lots of fruit (largely citrus and plum) and oak. Honey and a sherry sweetness. A little wood and metal polish. White chocolate. Some mint. Soy sauce. Campino sweets. A little salty and spicy. Very slightly musty. Smoke.Palate:
Quite dry and oaky, but also very fruity. Honeyed again. Creamy. Those strawberry and cream Campino sweets appear again.Finish:
Long, sweet and creamy, with heaps of citrus fruit. Fragrant and lightly spiced. Becomes a little woody and drying after a short while. Light mint notes. Strawberry sherbet? Quite thin though. Faint hints of smoke and soap develop much later on, with jam (various fruit) also appearing.Wardhead (58.4%, The Ultimate)Colour:
A little spirity, with a eucalyptus/menthol freshness. Grass, honey and malt. A little vanilla. A faint hint of earth and smoke? Some slightly bitter/overripe fruits sitting alongside the typical Glenfiddich citrus. A touch yeasty. Hints of white chocolate. With water, the citrus notes are increased and a little cocoa powder seems to appear.Palate:
Quite hot at full strength. Lots of honey and citrus fruit. Malt and eucalyptus. Water cools it down and helps to reveal vanilla and more citrus.Finish:
Warm, sweet and honeyed. A touch grassy, with citrus fruit appearing after a few seconds. Becomes grassier over time. Water cools it down, pronounces the citrus notes and creates something akin to vanilla ice cream, but also causes a very slight soapiness towards the end.
Of the standard Glenfiddichs, in terms of value the 18yo wins it hands down for me - it just offers so much more than the 12 and 15, although the 15 does have a beautiful nose. The 21 has decent complexity and is a good drink, albeit a bit too sweet for me, whilst the 30 has a stunning nose but seems to be a little thin on the palate and finish. Why did they bottle it at 40%? It would have been exceptional at cask strength!
The Wardhead is basically cask strength Glenfiddich - it's actually a vatting of 99% Glenfiddich, 1% Balvenie. It's very, very good and illustrates how Glenfiddich really benefits from a higher ABV.
Many thanks to Matt for the OB samples and to Ras Mazunga for the Wardhead sample!