Thursday, 31 January 2013

Tasted #7 & #8: Glenfiddich 125th Anniversary and Glenfiddich 19yo Age of Discovery Bourbon cask (#101drams)

It's a rare event when duty free works out to be cheaper in Australia than, well, anywhere else in the world, but that's what happened on a recent trip to NZ, so on return into SYD I picked up two 'fiddichs I'd been keen to get my hands on - the 125th Anniversary Edition and the 19yo Age of Discovery Bourbon cask finish. Both to join my shelf of "special 'fiddichs":

Having been a huge fan of the original AoD Madeira cask finish, and realising that the 2nd release (Bourbon cask) wasn't going to be available for regular retail sale, I was keen to get my hands on a bottle. As for the 125th Anniversary - a peaty, limited edition 'fiddich? Too interesting to pass up!

Both are presented in typical limited edition Glenfiddich fashion - i.e. very well, in sturdy and attractive boxes with (in the case of the 125th Anniversary) a few extra add-ons (call them gimmicks if you like, I think they're pretty nice) -  a signed certificate by Malt Master Brian Kinsman, a (very heavy) solid copper bottle stopper, and a small booklet on the malt.

..but enough of the small talk. How do they taste?

Glenfiddich 125th Anniversary Edition (43% ABV, No Age Statement)

Nose: Peat! Not in a "blow your head off" Ardbeg style (as much as we all love it), but not in the subtle "hello, I promise I'm here!" style of say the Caoran Reserve either. Certainly not what you expect from any Glenfiddich. Pleasant though. While the smoke is hard to ignore, it reminded me more of an Aussie peated whisky (like say, Hellyers Road Peated) than a subtle Islay. There's a slight fruity sweetness too.

Palate: Vanilla, smoke, again - reminiscent of the Hellyers Road Peated. Pleasant, but you can only just tell it's a Glenfiddich. Certainly the most different Glenfiddich I've tried.

Finish: All the vanilla, sweetness, fruitiness clears, and leaves smoke. Not overpowering, but definitely the dominant characteristic. It lingers, but doesn't overstay its welcome.

Rating (on my very non-scientific scale): 91/100

Fantastic presentation, as we've come to expect
from special edition Glenfiddichs 
The AoD Bourbon finish (left) is lighter than the
125th Anniversary, but not by much.

Glenfiddich 19yo Age of Discovery Bourbon cask finish (40% ABV, 19yo)

Nose: Vanilla - a big hit of sweet vanilla at first. Slight notes of banana, maybe a hint of pear?

Palate: Bananas, pear. The vanilla sweetness so evident on the nose is nowhere to be found.

Finish: Apple and pear. Not dissimilar to Glenfiddich 12yo, but much smoother. Not a long finish, but not too short either.

Rating (on my very non-scientific scale): 92/100

All up, two very enjoyable whiskies. While I slightly preferred the AoD Bourbon cask finish to the 125th Anniversary, I'm very glad I grabbed a bottle two bottles of the latter. If it's anything like the Snow Phoenix (just search eBay), it's sure to be a popular and highly sought-after dram!

 - Martin.


  1. Can we get these limited edition Fiddichs in Australia? i.e. from Dan Murphy's or the like?

  2. Only duty-free unfortunately. The first "Age of Discovery" release is available at Dan's though.

  3. 125 anniversary is now available at vintage cellars and dan murphys. V.c also managed to get a few other travel exclusives.