Glenfiddich 21 yo Cuban rum cask finish

Well… officially it’s Caribbean rum cask finish but our modest blog doesn’t have to be 100% politically correct, right? Even the distiller isn’t consistent there. The official international Glenfiddich website sticks to the “Caribbean” but their UK online shop uses word “Cuban” a few times and even tells us where the barrels come from exactly:

Rum distillers from Sancti Spiritus, near the Sierra del Escambray in the heart of Cuba, worked with us to develop this unique Cuban rum finish.

Neither Chris nor myself have any plans to pursue careers in the US politics in the predictable future so we can use and abuse this lovely word. Cuba, Cuba, Cuba.

Back to the point! Glenfiddich 21 is transferred to Cuban rum casks for the final 4 months of the maturation period, after which time, again according to the distiller, the spirit reveals a new and vibrant overtone. It is bottled at ABV 40%. During the tasting we conducted in Teuchters Landing recently I had a chance to get to know this whisky, get friendly and even… well, about that later.

So what do we think?

Lucas:

On the nose it’s surprisingly fresh, expected something rather heavy (preconception – colour of the label?). And it’s sweet, oh yeah. Lollypops, Smarties, fruity chewing gum and Lindor pralines filling. On top of that traces of liquorice and mint. Dry oakiness and pears from younger bottlings are nowhere to be found.

First thing I thought when it touched my lips was “smooth”. The word severely overused in describing spirits but in this case hard to substitute. It’s just smooth; on the entry, in the middle, at the end and on the finish. I get dark cherries, apples and varnished wood there. It tingles at one point. Finishes medium long, gently and quietly.

Water brings out fudge, carrot cake and peat on the nose but kills the whisky overall, it just drowns. I never quite believed that water would do any good to such mature malt.

Generally it’s good, but I probably would have liked it better if not for Chris praising it all the way down to Teuchters. I expected magnificence and in this respect the Glenfiddich let me down. I definitely would take a bottle home (never happened) but wouldn’t pay £65 for it, not in a million years. Over to you, Chris.

Chris:

Well, firstly as I am considering going to the US at some point, I will be calling this the Caribbean rum finish (I dont fancy being detained at customs).

I really enjoyed this whisky, although I think it paled in comparison to some of the other stuff we have been trying recently (Macallan 18, wow!, I cant wait to write about it). I think the rum cask finish adds interesting flavours and is better than other rum finishes I have tried. I admit the first time I tried this whisky I had a couple of other wee drams so this tasted like nectar from the gods. When more sober, I’d say it’s a good all rounder, but not my absolute favourite.

Where can you get it:
www.scotchwhiskyshop.co.uk – £64.94
www.royalmilewhiskies.com – £66.95 (US shipment available)
shop.glenfiddich.com – £69.99 (with personalised label)

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World Whiskies Awards Judge         Spirit of Speyside Whisky Awards Judge Global Scotch Masters Judge         Scottish Whisky Awards Judge