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Glenfiddich is probably the most well known Single Malt Whisky and is the best selling around the world (with perhaps 20% of the market for Single Malt). The word itself means "Valley of the Deer" in Gaelic. (The reason so many whiskies are "Glen..." is because Whisky production requires water, and rivers are often found in valleys...)

The distillery itself is in the Highland region of Scotland, about half a mile north of Dufftown. The distillery is open to the public, offering two tours - a free, short tour or a more in depth tour for which they charge. It is owned by William Grant & Son, the company founded by the distillery founder. The company also owns a number of other distilleries including The Macallan.

The whisky is most well recognised for its triangular bottles (but don't confuse it with Grant's blended whisky - owned by the same company). The standard whisky is in green glass. However, its basic production (the 12 year old), while drinkable, is nothing special. The main thing that can be said for it is that it's much better than the 8 year old (which isn't produced any more). However, they produce some other whiskies too.

  • Caoran Reserve 12 Year Old - This is in a distinctive black and silver bottle. Caoran - pronounced "ku-ran" - comes from the Gaelic for "peat ember", and the whisky is quite smoky, although not as much as an Islay. This is my favourite in the range (that I have a bottle of - see the Gran Reserva below).
  • Solera Reserve 15 Year Old - Fifteen-year-old Glenfiddich from three types of casks – traditional American bourbon, Spanish sherry and new oak – is married in a large Solera vat, made of Oregon pine. The vat is always kept at least half full, ensuring a consistent quality of whisky is maintained whenever it is topped up. Easy going and very pleasant to drink.
  • Gran Reserva 21 Year Old - This is a whisky matured in Rum casks brought over from Cuba. I've only had it a couple of times at a friend's house - but it's quite spectacular!
  • Ancient Reserve 18 Year Old
  • Glenfiddich 30 Year Old
  • Liqueurs, special bottlings etc.

As I say, keep clear of the normal 12 year old. But the rest are all worth a try.

Incidental Glenfiddich Recommendations from an aspiring whisky connoisseur, currently a perishing neophyte lucky enough to get his filthy paws on a few of the bottles mentioned above

As a fairly young and inexperienced whisky lover, this list of recommendations may by its very nature seem a little bit presumptuous. However, I must make it clear that I am in no way a whisky critic/snob, nor do I claim to be any sort of expert on the subject. These are simply a few whiskies I've been lucky enough to try and to enjoy, and I merely want to share my humble opinions with those who may be considering buying a bottle of the mentioned products. So please enjoy, and incidentally if anyone wants to add a few more recommendations, perhaps for the 30 year old reserve, I'll make sure to watch this node with great interest.

In February of last year I was lucky enough to find a rather cheap bottle of Ancient Reserve (aged 18 years) while in Prague. Seeing as my own eighteenth birthday was coming up in a month, and my dad's birthday was only a few days away, I decided to buy it as a present for someone who has been, without fail, generous with his own varied supply of whisky (and to see if he noticed the auspicious age of the bottle - which he did, without prompting). In my humble opinion, it's an excellent whisky, sweet, oaky and soft - best enjoyed while sitting out in the garden with family on a warm Sunday night. Or whenever the hell you like, really; it's your bottle.

On the subject of fortunate pricing overseas, I tend to have all my luck with whisky while on holiday; in June while enjoying a relaxing break in Spain, I saw a bottle of Gran Reserva (aged 21 years and finished with rum), which I never even knew existed. I was about to buy it and fling it down my neck with gusto until I saw the price tag - 130 euros, more money than I could afford to spend on one item (or on much else). I later learned that this was a blatant markup, and plan to buy a bottle ASAP.

Also, my dad recently recieved a bottle of Caoran Reserve (aged 21 years) as a birthday present, and was as always eager to share the joy. Cutting straight to the chase, it's a great whisky; sweet, refreshing and tasty. Buy a bottle if you get the chance, and if for some reason you don't like it, send it to me immediately for critical analysis.

I plan to grab some Solera Reserve as soon as I can, having heard good things about it from various people. As soon as I can get ahold of some, I'll add my thoughts here for anyone who might be interested.

In short, as far as I've seen, Glenfiddich offers a great selection of varied whiskies. If you can, and if you're inclined, be sure to find and enjoy them.

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