World famous whisky
Glenfiddich is the most famous whisky distillery and brand in the world. The distillery is located on the outskirts of the town of Dufftown in the Speyside region of Scotland. The name is taken from the Glen Fiddich, the valley in which it lies and translates as 'valley of the deer' from Gaelic. The distillery is massive and has a capacity of 10 million litres per year, making it Scotland's largest distillery.
In addition, Glenfiddich is unusual as it is still a family owned business. The distillery is owned by the same family that established it - William Grant began construction of Glenfiddich distillery in 1886 and William Grant & Sons was formed in 1903. Today, they own the neighbouring Balvenie and Kininvie single malt distilleries, as well as the Girvan grain distillery and new Ailsa Bay single malt distillery in Ayrshire.
For further information on the Glenfiddich distillery and its history, then visit the distillery profile page on our website, whiskyforeveryone.com.
This is Glenfiddich's newest release and will form part of their extensive core range. The Rich Oak is matured for 14 years in ex-bourbon casks before being transferred for 18 weeks in to brand new casks (12 weeks in fresh American oak and then six weeks in fresh European oak casks). The introduction of new wood to the whisky gives new and more intense flavours, as new wood contains more natural oils called vanillins. It was launched in February at this year's Whisky Live, London and should cost £30-35 a bottle from numerous retailers.
Our tasting notes
The colour of this Rich Oak is deep and golden with a hint of amber. The nose is enticing and fresh with plenty of aromas fighting for your attention - vanilla, fresh green fruits (think of pears and apples), woody spices (cinnamon and nutmeg), caramel, oak, cedar wood, dried fruits (imagine raisins, and sultanas) and stone fruits (think of peaches and apricots). It is the sort of nose that you could sit and sniff for ages but gets you wanting to try the whisky as soon as possible. On the palate, this is rich but has a zingy freshness and spiciness to begin with (imagine some orange peel/zest and those cinnamon/nutmeg wood spices from the nose). Then comes the fruitiness - this time the fresh green fruits and the stone fruits feel less fresh and more like stewed fruits in a desert and this is enhanced further by the dried fruit characters. Other elements including sweet vanilla, some cereal grains, caramel and further spice (this is slightly peppery in nature) give the whisky a great balance. The combinations are delicious. The finish is warming and full of the cedar wood, oak and wood spice notes. Despite this, the whisky remains soft and that lovely fresh green fruit notes comes through right at the end.
What's the verdict?
This is a lovely dram that offers a great flavour profile, while maintaining Glenfiddich's soft and easy drinking nature. The freshness, woodiness and spiciness may put some people off but these make Rich Oak a very interesting whisky and one that should be tasted. It also offers good value for money and is, in our opinion, one of the best new whiskies of the year to date. That is why one has made its way in to our whisky cupboard!