Friday 21 August 2015

Tasted #203: Glenfiddich "The Original 1963"

When I asked Richard Blanchard; one half of the William Grant & Sons Whisky Specialist duo (the other being the elegant Laura Hay), what inspired the recently launched Glenfiddich "The Original 1963," he suggested three things:
1. Perhaps something different;
2. Originality, especially in this day and age where there are a significant number of single malt expressions; and
3. Mad Men.
The last suggestion certainly resonated and timed well, with the final season of Mad Men having been aired in May this year. In fact, "The Original 1963" is an expression that had been intended to reflect the original Glenfiddich single malt expression (known as 'straight malt' in the 1960s) and it was fairly new and most likely unheard of in the earlier 'Mad Men' / Don Draper days. During the 'Mad Men' era, between the 1960s and 1970s, blended whiskies were far more popular than their single malt whiskiy counterparts. Thus when Sandy Grant Gordon, the great grandson of William Grant first promoted Glenfiddich (or perhaps the entire single malt category) in 1963 outside Scotland, he had most likely set a catalyst for the single malt whisky category as a whole.

The reincarnation of Glenfiddich's straight malt, labelled as 'The Original 1963' was the handiwork of Glenfiddich Head Distiller, Brian Kinsman. The reincarnation involved the sampling of the original straight malt from 1963 and the following of the original archived recipe.

Glenfiddich The Original (40% ABV, NAS, Speyside, Scotland, $94.99AUD)
A clean, youthful Glenfiddich that takes its profile from the use of both ex-sherry and ex-bourbon barrels. The flavour profile is true to Glenfiddich though slightly more delicate. If this is anything like the straight malt introduced by Sandy in 1963, then I would have returned the Canadian Club blended whisky back to the cupboard and spend the rest of the night with this lovely dram.

Colour: Gold

Nose: What is Glenfiddich without the Glenfiddich pear? Then there are notes of baked apples, vanilla and fresh spring flowers. There is also some biscuit note in there.

Palate: The nose translates well to the palate. Though the palate is young yet buttery (especially when compared to the core Glenfiddich expressions - 12, 15, 18). The pear is there, honeyed pear perhaps, complemented with an overlay of vanilla and popcorn? Youthful yet refreshing.

Finish: The finish is slowly drying with gentle lingering spices.

Rating (on my very non-scientific scale): 90/100.

Martin's take: 
I also had the pleasure of sampling this dram at L'Arrière-Cour (aka Backyard), a bar in Taipei recently, where I also picked up a bottle, because 1) I'm a Glenfiddich tragic and 2) Single Malt whisky in Taiwan is cheap! My thoughts as follows:

Colour: Golden sunset

Nose: Definitely some classic 'fiddich notes, but a lot more sherry than you expect on a regular 'fiddich expression. Lots of raisins too, but with an overarching freshness.

Palate: Creamy, smooth and silky. Very drinkable. Cereal, oats, sweet vanilla icecream along with honey. A little bit of breakfast (honey-covered oats) with dessert (sweet vanilla icecream) all in one.

Finish: Short to medium, sweet and spicey, with some milk chocolate at the end.

Rating (on my very non-scientific scale): 89/100.

Hendy (and Martin).

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