Perhaps there is no other single malt I am asked about more than Glenfiddich 12 yr. It is the best selling single malt whisky in the world, and the brand proudly proclaims that Glenfiddich is also the world’s most awarded single malt. In 2011, Glenfiddich sold over 12 million bottles (1 million cases), the first single malt Scotch brand ever to do so. Needless to say, many people drink a lot of Glenfiddich; it is the staple single malt of almost every bar I have ever been in. As such, I know many Scotch drinkers that tend to look down at Glenfiddich as a brand, but popularity does not always equal low quality. Glenfiddich’s signature malt is their 12 year-old, a quintessential Speyside single malt. It is aged in both ex-bourbon casks and ex-Sherry casks, although the whisky gives a lot more character of the former. The 12 year is bottled at 80 proof (40% abv), and comes in an iconic, green, triangular bottle.
The soft brown in the glass makes me suspect that coloring has been added for a consistent color to the finished product. On the nose, Glenfiddich 12 year-old is rather dry, with a lot of floral character and bitter green apples, but there is enough sweetness from the malt to hold it together. The palate is also quite dry, with Granny Smith apples, d’anjou pears, a bit of vanilla, and a malty backbone. The finish is short and sweet, with a lot of the same flavors of the palate making a final appearance before scampering away.
Overall, Glenfiddich 12 is exactly what one might expect from a best-selling Speysider. It is straightforward, reasonably priced, and elegantly packaged. Popularity is not always a bad thing, but in this case, Glenfiddich 12 year-old does not have the complexity and depth of other standard malts in its price range. There are other whiskies in the Glenfiddich portfolio are worth seeking out, but I do not believe the Glenfiddich 12 year is one of them. My grade: C+. Price: $35-40/750ml. The price point makes it a great gift, and a good buy for a single malt, but Old Pulteney 12, The Glenlivet 12, and Highland Park 12 are all finer malts for the money in my opinion.