And finally, the last of Glenfiddich’s new Cask Collection: The Vintage Cask. Despite the name, this is also a NAS bottle and, like many NAS releases, has a unique schtick designed to help you reconcile the lack of transparency with your reluctance to fork out your hard-earned cash. In this case, it seems to be Glenfiddich’s first moderately peated whisky (at least the first I’m aware of). And if you’re already suspecting that ‘Fiddich and peat may not play well together, you’re not alone.
In terms of the travel-retail-exclusive Cask Collection (including the Select and the Reserve Casks), the Vintage Cask is also the most expensive of the trio (by quite a fair margin). Featuring a sexier bottle and sexier packaging, which presumably render it harder to resist for those poor whisky lovers wasting away their lives in some godforsaken airport.
Away we go!
Soft peat – light, grassy and floral. Vanilla, caramel. Green grapes. Faint toffee. Jelly babies. Overall a fairly… odd, chaotic, mixed-up smell, but not unpleasant.
Yeeesh. That gentle peat is nice, but there’s honestly not much else going on. A little buttery, lemony, herbal. Tree bark. Simple and underwhelming – think “Peat Lite™”. (Diet Laphroaig? Slimmer’s Ardbeg?) The finish is short and grassy, with a touch of liquorice.
Down she goes! Don’t do it. Ugh. Even the peat disappears, and you’re left with yellow water that smells faintly like oven cleaner.
Intensely boring, but not terrible. A complete lack of complexity for such an insanely overpriced bottle is a real crime, and I’d have a hard time recommending it over… almost any other peated whisky. Or most unpeated whiskies, for that matter.
In my mind, Glenfiddich works well as a great unpeated ex-bourbon (12-year-old), ex-sherry (15-year-old) or ex-rum (21-year-old) matured whisky. If you want to dip your toes into peat, definitely opt for Highland Park 12, work your way up to Talisker, and start your long, beautiful journey on the Ardbeg train.