Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Glenfiddich 14 Year Bourbon Barrel Reserve Single Malt Scotch

- $50
- 86 Proof

It's been a while since I've finished off a bottle of Scotch. My purchases over the last few months have been bourbon-centric. Heck, even this purchase is a Scotch that was aged in bourbon barrels. When I first heard Glenfiddich was releasing its Bourbon Barrel Reserve, I knew I had to try it, and I grabbed the first bottle I saw on the shelves.

This Scotch is aged for 14 years in bourbon barrels, and then finished in new oak. Having never had a Scotch aged in bourbon barrels, I was eager to see how the traditional vanillas and caramels commonly associated with bourbon would influence the Scotch.

I've always found Glenfiddich to produce very inoffensive, easy-drinking Scotches. No peat, light, crisp flavors and no burn. Such is the case with the Bourbon Barrel Reserve. It's a very light whiskey. In fact, I was surprised at how watery in texture it was. It didn't have the same body that other Glenfiddich expressions. Even the 15 year, at only a year older, has a much fuller body.

The nose is soft and floral. It also gave hints of pipe tobacco and vanilla. I expected the bourbon barrel influence to come through a little more, with stronger vanilla and caramel on the nose, but such was not the case.

The flavor up front is sweet and malty, a slightly more complex version of the Glenfiddich 12-year. As I let the whisky sit on my tongue, I primarily noticed vanilla (finally) but also with a distinct and sweet honey flavor, making this a sweeter Scotch than most.

As noted above, this is a very watery whisky, so the flavor doesn't hang around too long after the swallow, which was a bit disappointing. There was no sweet, butterscotch flavor to hang around the back of my throat, one of my favorite parts about enjoying a good Scotch. The influence of the bourbon barrels wasn't quite what I'd hoped it would be either. I didn't know quite what to expect, and while it didn't the fruity or citrus undertones of many Scotches, rather leaning towards the vanilla and honey flavors, the influence just wasn't as bold. I guess I expected more vanilla and toffee influence than what I got.

Grade: B-

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