Glenfiddich Special Reserve 12 Year Old

Glenfiddich (Valley of the Deer in Gaelic) is a single malt scotch that comes from the Speyside region of Scotland. The distillery has been in operations since 1886 in Duffstown, Scotland and is owned by the William Grant and Sons. Because Scotch goes through individually unique processes compared to bourbon, I would like to explain a bit about how Glenfiddich is made.

The Glenfiddich Process

Ripe barley is steeped in water for two days which triggers germination. This is left to germinate for 4 -5 days and what you end up with is what they refer to as “Green Malt”. The malt is then taken to dry over fire which will impart a smoke like quality to the spirit when it is consumed. From there the malted barley is ready to be fermented further and then go through the distilling process.

After it has been distilled it is then matured in used American bourbon oak barrels for 12 years and finished for a couple of months in used Spanish sherry casks.

Once the whiskey has matured over the 12 year period all of the barrels that are ready, are “married”  in a large Tun that can hold up to 30 barrels of whisky for up to 9 months. This helps ensure that every bottle of Glenfiddich that you buy is consistent. After the whisky is married, it is then cut with Robbie Dhu Spring Water, bringing it to 40% ABV before bottling.


  • COLOR: Light in color like pale straw.
  • NOSE: Very much like a good Chardonnay; notes of fresh pears and green apples that are rounded out by scents dry oak and creamy butter.
  • MOUTH FEEL: Very smooth and warm, much like light oil.
  • PALATE: Subtle but still complex, sort of a citrus and sweet grassy taste that transitions into a comforting buttery oak and smoke.
  • FINISH: Again the creamy texture and smoke are still dancing on your tongue, and fades into a warm inviting mild pepper and a confusing metallic note. Not too sure where that one came from. It doesn’t last very long, but that might be the idea. The finish teases you into drinking a bit more to try and dissect everything that is going on.


Aside from the slightly off putting metallic note that you get on the finish, I really enjoy this scotch. It is complex, but still mild in the areas that make people nervous to try a scotch (things like pepper, salt and peat smoke). Personally I think if you are new to the scotch whisky game, this is where you would want to start off at. There is something that is very inviting and approachable about this; whether it be the bottling or the fragrance. If you come across this (which you should, it’s a very popular dram), be sure to give this fella a try.

*photo is not my own