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Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Glenfiddich Pure Malt, bottled early 1980s

Before it was Our Signature Malt, it was Special Reserve; before it was Special Reserve, it was Special Old Reserve; and before it was Special Old Reserve, it was Pure Malt.

There was a short phase of Pure Malt when Glenfiddich removed some color and texture from the label resulting in a flatter, though aged, look. Within this period, there was even briefer moment when the abv dropped to 40%. How lucky am I to get to experience it?

Distillery: Glenfiddich
Owner: William Grant & Sons
Region: Speyside (Dufftown)
Age: no age statement
Maturation: ???
Bottle Code: none?
Alcohol by Volume: 40%

At first burst, the nose is all moldy clothes, sand, clay and metal. Some chemical reaction begins at the 20 minute mark and the nose keeps opening further and further with time, in approximately this fashion: vanilla, whipped cream, mixed berry jam, roses, fruity cinnamon, lemon zest and fermenting apples. Twenty minutes later the musty notes are gone. The palate begins rugged as well. Cork (though the bottle has a screwtop), dust, metal, ethyl, black pepper and tobacco. Beneath that is a simple sweetness and tartness. It gets sweeter and soapier with time, picking up some plastic notes. With the first couple of sips, the finish is cleaner than the palate with a lemon and funky honey combination. But then comes the cork. And the soap. It keeps some sweetness and lemon. But the soap.

With time in the glass the whisky's nose ascended, while the palate crumbled completely. The palate was challenging to begin with, but the soap and plastic notes that start to take over become unnerving. This mini had a perfect fill level so I didn't anticipate this problem. Perhaps the whisky wasn't great when it was bottled? It's certainly a different creature than the 1986 bottling. I have no idea what to expect from Friday's whisky.

Availability - Auctions
Pricing - ???
Rating - 75 (but don't linger over the stuff)

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