If you’ve been around the single malt scotch market for any length of time, you probably had the same reaction to this label that I did. “Uhh… basically every single malt is aged in bourbon barrels.” So what’s so special about this particular bottle that they felt the need to slap it in large type on the label? Let’s not forget that “Reserve” means absolutely nothing….
The 14-year Rich Oak uses an experimental finishing technique that appears to have been deemed enough of a success to launch it in 2010, although it still has not ventured Stateside. … Standard ex-bourbon aged Glenfiddich is re-casked after 14 years into a mixture of new Spanish oak and new American oak, for a brief finishing period of “up to” 12 weeks. This is apparently the first time any single-malt scotch has been finished in new Spanish oak.
Here we have something new. Whisky is (sort of) distilled beer, right? And most (almost all) beer contains hops to some degree. So why not age whisky in casks that previously held heavily-hopped India Pale Ale style beer? … a specially-brewed IPA ale using Challenger hops was aged for 4 weeks in used Glenfiddich American Oak barrels, and then emptied and used to finish Glenfiddich single malt for 12 weeks.
The 15 is interesting. It’s widely-distributed, very cost-effective for a 15 year-old malt, and has something that no other (or almost no other) scotch on the market has: malt from a modified sherry-style Solera system. It’s miles ahead in quality from Glenfiddich 12 (which is just passably drinkable), but still usually under $50
I have to concede that this is better than DoubleWood 12. However, it doesn’t warrant the same price tag that is carried by amazing malts like Ardbeg Corryvreckan or Talisker 18.
…whisky has not always been sold by the distillery which created it. In the hazy, distant past… or really, any time before the last few decades, whisky was distilled by a distillery, barreled, and sold. Today, true independent bottlers remain in the market by providing customers a way to taste obscure, experimental, or now-defunct distilleries, as well as expertly aged and bottled single-cask expressions from familiar distilleries.
The delectable hazelnut and honey flavors are many-layered, and are supported by an elegant, smooth-but-fiery sweet malty character. The sherry is definitely in the background. I wouldn’t call this well-balanced, but as the dominant nuttiness is so tasty, I definitely recommend it, especially if you can find a deal.
Dry, crisp, and earthy without any smoke. For a bottle in the $25 range, it’s unfortunately only a step above the cheapest blends, with perhaps a bit more drink-ability than standards like Johnnie Walker or Chivas Regal. It is best suited as a stepping-stone to better malts, as The Glenlivet 12 is slightly cheaper, and has more complexity.