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The Reserve Cask is part of a trio of bottlings known as the Cask Collection, a batch of single malts released by Glenfiddich exclusively for the travel retail market.
Founded in 1886 by William Grant, the Glenfiddich distillery was built on private land on the outskirts of the Speyside whisky capital of Dufftown. The company enjoyed great early success and a second distillery named Balvenie was constructed in 1892 to bolster Grant’s production capabilities.
The first half of the 20th century brought no end of problems for the whisky industry, with the famous ‘Pattison Crash‘ causing the collapse of many a small business and wartime restrictions bringing distilling to a halt across the board, not to mention the arrival of prohibition in the USA which would deny distillers their most lucrative export market. Where many slowed their production however, the wily Grants carried on regardless, filling their warehouses to the brim with vast stocks of well maturing spirit.
By the time prohibition was repealed in 1933, the Grants of Glenfiddich had put themselves in an ideal position to capitalise on the renewed Atlantic trade. With supplies of aged whisky that few could match, they lost no time in placing the company at the forefront of the whisky industry, a position further cemented with the introduction of a premium-branded Glenfiddich single malt in the 1960’s, backed by an extensive advertising campaign and followed up with the construction of a visitor centre, creating and encouraging whisky tourism for the very first time.
Much like the readily available 15 year old, the Glenfiddich Reserve Cask features a portion of malt matured in sherry casks and then married in a specially contructed pine vat, inspired by the Spanish solera technique of maturation.
Bottled at 40%, it is available in the UK at travel retail only, for around £60.
Smell: A definite Sherry influence on the nose, backed up with Cinnamon and Orange, Apples and Pears and a touch of Vanilla. Reminds of a younger, spicier version of the 15 year old.
Taste: Pleasant texture on the palate with notes of Spices and Oak, Sherry, Cinnamon, Clove, Lemon and Chocolate Orange.
Value for Money: Personally I find the travel retail market to be overpriced in general and £60 strikes me as a little expensive here. It is a pleasant enough dram however and does come in a one litre bottle, so you get more for your money.
Scores: 40.5 / 50.
Glenfiddich may not be the most exciting single malt brand but what it is, is consistent. Standards remain high regardless of the expression, and pricing is generally kept at an affordable level. As travel retail expressions go, the Reserve Cask is a decent offering, though I feel I’d maybe rather buy a bottle of the 15 year old at £40 or even the 18 year old at £70 instead, with each offering just a little more complexity and value for money in my opinion. If you really must buy at the airport though, you can do a whole lot worse than this.