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Friday, February 8, 2019

Glenfiddich Special Reserve 12 year old, bottled 2002

Back when I was still dusty hunting on the streets of Long Beach, I once found something significant to only me:
I opened the bottle promptly, admittedly a rare act for me. I saved a big sample and I saved the glasses! This is the one whisky this month that's from a saved quantity, a wee bottle I knew I was saving for something, but didn't know what.

The contents of the bottle vanished down my gullet quickly. At that point in time I was drinking only cask strength whiskies, so this Glenfiddich drank easily. Also, that was my first month of fatherhood, so this Glenfiddich drank easily.

With some time, perspective and a slightly clearer mind, I tried it side-by-side with the current Glenfiddich 12.

Distillery: Glenfiddich
Owner: William Grant & Sons
Region: Speyside (Dufftown)
Age: minimum 12 years
Maturation: bourbon casks and sherry casks, likely more of the former
Bottle Code: L2-something
Alcohol by Volume: 40%
Chillfiltered? Yup
Caramel Colorant? Uh huh

Deeper and brighter than the 2017 bottling's nose, the 2002 version smells of apple skins, cinnamon, flowers, pears, dates and lemon juice. There's also a whiff of old sherried oak. With time the lemon juice turns into lemon bars, and small notes of cherry candy and vanilla bean appear. The palate has wood spice, roasted nuts, lemon juice, tart berries and a hint of toasted coconut. Though some cocoa and tangier citrus notes develop, it fades quickly overall. Mild heat and mild sweet in the finish. Tart citrus and berries, apples and mint.

This is a significant improvement over the 2017 edition, or the 2017 was a retrogression from this. It feels better matured, it's fruitier and the oak offers some gentle influence. The alleged 15/85 mix of sherry and bourbon casks seems to have worked here as well.

Its main weakness is the Unholy Trinity of Whisky Abuse: filtration, coloration and maximum dilution. It's thin in the mouth and has no staying power. The flavor is here then it's gone. It even has me looking forward to this month's 43%abv Glenfiddichs.

Still, there's more going on with this 2002 bottling, than the Glenfiddich 12 year old from 2017. It's more expressive and enjoyable. And it's better than most of the blends its age.

Availability - ???
Pricing - I think this gift pack was $29.99
Rating - 81

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