Marten, one of the frequent readers (thanks, Marten), and a member of Branndair Uisge Beatha Cuallach (the group of barbecuers that are joining me in whisky tastings), took pity on me after the group’s first blind taste test. Since I sent out the samples, I knew what the whisky was, so it wasn’t blind for me. Marten took the sample bottle I sent him, refilled it with a mystery whisky for me, and sent it back. He also came up with the idea of people maybe taking turns, using whisky they have on hand, to do this now and then. I’m all for it, as it was a fun thing to do, as long as I get to pay for the whisky, shipping, etc.
So the other day I got a box in the mail with a very generous sample in it, and set up the tasting environment. That sounds fancy, but I just sit at the far end of our dining room table. The light comes in there nicely in the afternoon.
With no further ado, here are my results:
Amber + 2. Without any apparent sherry color, it looked like it might be an older whisky, with more color from the barrels, or with added caramel coloring.
Toffee; smoke; chocolate; orange; wood; good n plenty candy
Medium – Full bodied flavor; thin mouthfeel
Black pepper withh chocolate covered orange; malt at the back of the mouth; a bit of salt; just a touch medicinal. Alcohol adds a nice spice without overpowering with a drop of water
Butter; spice; slight bitter; long finish
This is a very drinkable, approachable whisky. It’s nicely spicy and easy to enjoy. It’s nicely balanced. While it’s easy to enjoy, there wasn’t anything that made me want to finish my whole sample right away.
For outdoor cooking, I would marinate lamb in this and smoke it, finishing on the grill to char the chops a bit, then add a sauce with the whisky and coffee.
Marten let me know what the sample was as soon as I posted my results. I have to say I had almost written that I thought it was a Speyside, but didn’t want to get too brave in guessing. As it turned out, the whisky was…
… drumroll …
Glenfiddich 21 Year Old, finished in rum casks.
My lack of enthusiasm about the whisky (not dislike) doesn’t surprise me after all, as the very-easy-to-find 12 year-old is one of my least favorite whiskies. It was nice to see that the distillery does put out whisky that I find enjoyable and drinkable, as I don’t find the 12 year-old good at all. I’d choose something like Black Bottle over the 12 year-old any day. Now if you want to offer me a dram, I will gladly enjoy one with you and not tell you how much I dislike the younger version!
Glenfiddich 21 Year Old goes for $125-150. In that range, there are many other whiskies I would choose first, but that’s personal preference. The whisky is nicely balanced between caramel/toffee sweetness and spiciness, with a bit of wood added to bring both sides together.