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Glenfiddich 14 yo ‘Rich Oak’ (OB, 40%)

We’re going to drink one of the best-selling Scotch in the world, being Glenfiddich the best-selling distillery in Scotland. This 14 yo is a OB within the mid-range of prices (45 euro, more or less), perfect for any thirsty-but-not-loaded whisky passionate. Despite its “pop imagine”, this Rich Oak is produced in a very particular way, rather unique in Scotland: the spirit matures in American oak casks (both ex sherry and ex bourbon); then it’s separately extra matured in both virgin Spanish and American oak casks. This virginal purity usually doesn’t translate into gentleness, quite the opposite: virgin wood releases huge amounts of flavours, often overwhelming. Let’s check what’s the influence on the delicate Glenfiddich malt.

gfdob.14yo

N: heavy and deep, bold and full of brimming flavours. Not very complex, but pleasant: brown sugar, ripe figue (ripe mixed fruit, indeed), stewed prunes, melon and mixed jams. There’s a sensation of buttery pastry with apples, perhaps strudel. The only surprising off-note is a curious hint of BBQ sauce.

P: the body is rather weak, despite the pronounced sweetness. On the palate is simpler: apple pastries and brown sugar. Everything is covered by a sugary coat of stewed and overripe fruits. It’s a little bit people pleasey, but the intensity is constantly high. Anyway, it’s a bit cloying and it shows a messy and excessive alcoholic note…

F: …deteriorating towards the end, when the abuse of virgin oak makes everything too astringent.

We deceived ourselves: the nose was nice, so we expected a simple but pleasant palate. On the contrary, it seems poor and unconnected, getting worse every sip. The finish is indeed a failure, with a disturbing alcoholic sensation. It is said that modern whiskies are often far too wood-focused and lacking complexity and nuances. Well, we can answer: are you talking about Rich Oak? Near to a full rejection: 75/100.

Recommended soundtrack: Polonia violenta – Il giudizio

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