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The Winter Storm of January 2010
Glenfiddich was founded in 1886 by William Grant. The distillery stands in Dufftown, within the famed Speyside region, an area home to half of Scotland’s distilleries. The northeast of Scotland is also known for its sometimes inhospitable weather conditions and one particularly harsh winter created an almost catastrophic scenario at the distillery just a few years ago.
In late 2009 the Speyside region was suffering one of the worst winters on record. By the January of 2010 snow had been falling relentlessly for weeks, leaving Glenfiddich distillery completely buried by more than a metre of snow. On the night of January 7th, following further heavy snowfall, the sheer weight of the snow brought the roof of the warehouse crashing down, jeopardising the precious whisky maturing inside. The alarm was raised and hardy distillery workers answered the call, toiling through the night in temperatures of -19C to clear the snow and rescue as many casks as possible. Thanks to their hard work, the distillery suffered only minimal losses and soon, a special bottling, entitled the ‘Snow Phoenix’ was released to commemorate the dedication of the distillery staff.
Today, Glenfiddich remains under the ownership of the same Grant family and enjoys a position as the best selling single malt brand in the world due, in large part to the popularity of their 12-year-old expression. Bottled at 40%, the whisky is available in the UK for around £30.
Smell: The nose is fresh and floral with apples and pears. There’s malt and honey and a touch of citrus.
Taste: Honey and caramel on the palate with apple, pear and lemon. Sometimes a dram can completely contradict the nose when tasted, not so with the Glenfiddich 12, it all comes together in one harmonious package.
Thoughts: As a solid, dependable, every day dram, Glenfiddich is the very safest of safe buys. If you go into a bar, anywhere in the world, no matter how remote, and ask for a single malt Scotch, there’s a good chance you’ll be given a 12-year-old Glenfiddich. There’s a reason for that: it is an incredibly consistent single malt that ticks a lot of boxes for a lot of people. In fact, if you’re looking for an entry point into the category that won’t intimidate the senses with unusual and overpowering flavours, you can’t really go wrong with the Glenfiddich. It’s a little on the delicate side for my personal tastes but on the odd occasion that I find myself having a dram, I always enjoy the easy-drinking experience. It’s almost popular to criticise Glenfiddich, due to its mass produced approach but the Scotch industry would be nothing without crowd-pleasing products like this, making friends and influencing people all over the world. Everyone has to start somewhere and Glenfiddich’s 12-year-old might be responsible for making more people fall in love with single malt than any other brand. Are there better whiskies out there? Yes, loads, but the brand has its place and when taken in context, it can be enjoyed by anyone.
*If the whisky reviewed in this article has caught your eye, you can buy it from Master of Malt here. Please be aware that as an affiliate I can be paid a small commission on any purchases you make after following links from my page. The whisky is also available from several other excellent retailers.