Day Twenty Three in the Whisky Advent Calendar

*In this series, I’m working my way through the 2015 Master of Malt Whisky Advent. I had surgery in the middle, so we’re behind on the official dates.

Glenfiddich. Maybe the best distribution program of any single malt scotch.

Head to any bar in the US, and you have a 70% chance that, even if they only carry one scotch, it will be Glenfiddich. I’m not sure whether that’s because their reps are that amazing, the distribution is that good, or whether the world just loves itself some Glenfiddich.

I’ve avoided it in the past because of how common it is. That’s a mistake. Just because it is everywhere doesn’t mean it should to be taken for granted.

It’s time I gave it a shot.

Their video has music that’s a bit too cheesy/overbearing for my taste, but it’s very informative. It’s at the bottom of this review.


Glenfiddich is a Speyside distillery owned by William Grant & Sons. Their name means “Valley of the Deer” in Gaelic which is why the stag shows up on their labels.

It was founded in 1886 by William Grant. Their first production ran through the stills on Christmas of 1887 which makes its spot in the Whisky Advent Calendar particularly apt.

If you know your history, you’ll remember that US Prohibition nearly wiped out the whisky market it Scotland and Ireland. Glenfiddich was one of the only distilleries that actually increased production during that time. When whisky demand returned, they were perfectly positioned to take charge.

Reading the history of Glenfiddich is like reading the personal story of a really incredible marketing genius. It seems, at every turn, Grant & Sons spotted opportunities before everyone else and had the balls to pursue them. That’s likely the reason you find them just about everywhere you can order scotch.


The 18 yr old Glenfiddich is a Oloroso sherry aged and bourbon aged whisky. I’m guessing that’s going to give an already caramel leaning region even more sweetness.

The first smell does present the expected caramel notes, but I also get old dried wood. Not smoky, just earthy.

The taste has all the expected smoothness you would expect from a well-rounded Speyside. It’s not overly sweet, but the sherry notes are a bit clingy.

It has a saltier finish than I would have expected, but it’s mild.

I think anyone wanting to introduce someone to Scotch without having them experience the culture shock of Laphroig would do well to start with Glenfiddich. It’s not as sugar-sweet as Glenrothes, but it is still accessible and smooth.

So you in a bar sometime soon, Glenfiddich.