A wee while back I picked up a bottle of Glenfiddich 18 Year Old for the low low bargain price of £35, around half price, after trying some I decided to do a mini review series of the 12, 15, 18 and maybe the old Distillery Edition of which I have a couple of bottles lying around and then perhaps I’d crack open the 80s bottle of Pure Malt I have which I picked up at auction, and then I’d leave it.
Then I was in Morrisons buying Christmas party food and noticed out of the corner of my eye a big Glenfiddich tin, three of them, no idea what they were, thought maybe a special box of the 18 or something but low and behold it was a bottle of the Original, normally an eye watering £85 now £45. I had never seen this sold anywhere so was surprised at seeing it here and for such a low price, perhaps not as surprised as my wife when we were at the tills and she noticed it under the frozen peas, but surprised none the less.
The Original is one of two things, depending on how you see it, it’s either a distillery experimenting with old recipes to try and recreate Glenfiddich’s Straight Malt or it’s a marketing gimmick and an expensive one at that.
What they’ve done here is take a sample of their Straight Malt from 1963 and attempted to replicate it, and I have one issue with this.
If you have a recipe you can copy it, to a degree, no cask is exactly the same as another and whisky changes in the bottle, I assume it was held in a small sample bottle, 20cl perhaps, since 1963, the whisky doesn’t mature but it does change, so I’m not sure you could ever truly recreate something from the 60s, not really.
But here we are, a chance to try a reasonably limited offering which I wouldn’t normally buy, so was it worth it? Does it taste different? And different to what?
Well as I’m reviewing it then obviously I am recommending it but let’s get on with the review.
This is bottled at 40% and I think it needs half a teaspoon of water.
Nose. Tinned fruit cocktail, tinned pears in syrup and poached pears, enough oak to suggest it’s reasonably young, malty too.
Palate. A cross between lemon curd and orange marmalade, sweet, certainly, candied fruit and orange barley sweets, digestive biscuits, raw honey, a touch of charred cask, without water it can be quite peppery.
Finish. Buttery sweet digestives and fairly short.
Hmmm, worth the effort? Well I think one of the problems here is that I’m not sure what to expect, and who else would? Unless they supply you with a sample of the 60s bottle, which I suspect isn’t really an option, then how do I know this is a faithful recreation of the 60s bottle? I’m hardly a youth but I wasn’t born when the Straight Malt came around and you’d be in your 60s yourself for you to have tasted this at the time and have one heck of a memory to be able to remember what it tasted like.
It’s a pleasant whisky, it’s a young Glenfiddich which in itself is rare, it’s actually nice to be able to taste a youthful Glenfiddich, although I understand this is an 8 year old with some 12 and 13 year old whiskies added, so that’s a good thing, I’m just not sure it’s worth all the faffing around and I certainly don’t think it’s worth as much as £85 for an experiment, I’m also not 100% sure why they didn’t put this as an opener for their Experimental Series, perhaps too expensive for an opener?
Still, if you see it in a bar it’s worth a dram and it’s worth the money I paid.
I’ll do a side by side with the Pure Malt I have and try and compare.