March continues the trend with yet another malty match mania, a head to head comparison between the Speysides! On one corner, we have four time ‘World Whisky of the Year’ winner, Glen Grant 18 , while on the other is the Glenfiddich 18, a contender no less with a host of awards under its belt and from possibly the most omnipresent distillery in the world!!
The Glen Grant 18 has been recently hogging a lot of the spotlight, recognised year after year by whisky enthusiast, Jim Murray with his yearly whisky ratings. Which is also what got me thinking if the hype of the Grant could subdue or maybe even pulverise the more globally recognised Glenfiddich. I mean there must be some method to the madness as why the latter is still widely appreciated, the general public can’t go wrong, or can they?!
To make this as fair as possible, I did plan to go into this blind initially, as I usually would do. But looking at the bottles, the difference in colour could not be overlooked; and with that I head into this tasting fully aware of the contents of each glass!
Now, onto the tasting…
GG18 : 43%
GF18 : 40%
GG18 : Yellow Gold, most of it’s colour attributed from being matured in ex Bourbon casks; unsure if the distillers have added caramel colouring, wouldn’t seem so.
GF18 : Burnished, owing to its maturation in a combination of ex Bourbon and Oloroso Sherry casks; there’s definitely caramel colouring in here.
GG18 : Sweet vanilla and honey with charred cantaloupe and bits of caramel shards. Mildly savoury, like sundried tomatoes infused with the zest of green apples and a sprinkle of ground pepper.
GF18 : Red apples, drizzled with honey and vanilla custard. Bits of smoke in the midst of raisins, figs and rasberries. Malty with herbal nuances, some oak, powdered cinnamon and a sprinkle of pepper.
Verdict : The Grant is splendidly light, fresh and crisp, with an almost buoyant feel to it. While the Fiddich is relaxing, rich and heavy, with ample flavour; it might be the malt to help you settle into your couch, but the Grant will wipe you off your feet! And for its zest and the lovely zeal it delivers on the nose, I go with the former – Glen Grant 18!
GG18 : Oily on the palate; starting off sweet with vanilla and nougat along with some barley. Tropical from the honeydew, interleaved with moist wood and something resembling peppermint toothpaste.
GF18 : Brown sugar and vanilla cupcakes, paired with raisins, red grapes and some milk chocolate. You get to taste some sweet pastry in the midst of mild floral notes, a touch of zest, some cinnamon and a bit of spice.
Verdict : The Glenfiddich 18 delivers well on the palate, with a good range of depth; lovely spice along with the sweetness garnered from its time in both American and European oak. The Glen Grant 18 brings with it an oily viscosity, telling off its age, while also surprisingly lacking that strong woody influence which is a good thing. However, it misses on those punchy nuances and lacks oomph, being almost one dinensional, which is why the taste test goes to the Fiddich!
GG18: Short to medium | Cantaloupe with a subtle sweetness, followed by some heat.
GF18: Medium | Sultanas and vanilla with a mild spice towards the end
Verdict: Pretty clear cut here, the Glenfiddich 18 had a longer and more memorable finish.
GG18 : AUD $178
GF18 : AUD $120
Winner : The Glenfiddich 18!
The Glen Grant 18 cant be dismissed; the nose was literally a breath of fresh air and gave such a light, effervescent feel, full marks there. It unfortunately wasn’t able to carry forward the same energy on the palate or the finish. It didn’t seem to usher a lot of flavours, being more ‘melon-affinite’ with nothing else to show, which personally wasn’t to my liking and hence tipped the scales over to its opponent.
But hey! That’s just me as I always say!