Two years ago, when I moved to Madrid, I noticed a ceramic decanter of this Glenfiddich 18yo ‘Ancient Reserve’ in a local bar named La Toja. I asked the waiter if I could have some, but he didn’t know the price. Neither did the owner, because it turned out to be on the shelf for about 20 years. The cork broke into a thousand pieces while opening and apparently Spanish waiters solve this by pouring the bottle down the drain until there are no more pieces of cork left… Sacrilege!
Glenfiddich 18 yo ‘Ancient Reserve’ (43%, OB, late 1980’s, black decanter)
Nose: very rounded and gentle. Fruity, with big notes of blood oranges, kind of a malt version of Cointreau. Some banana too. The lightest hint of smoke. Whiffs of heather. Quite simple but very enjoyable.
Mouth: malty sweetness, lightly sherried with hints of plums. Caramelized apples with cinnamon. Honey. Very light oak. Still those oranges mixed with vanilla.
Finish: not too long but perfectly smooth.
A Glenfiddich that scores with an impressive smoothness rather than complexity. The smokey hints tell you it’s not a modern malt. My brother in law, who shared this dram with me, said “if all whiskies were as gentle and balanced as this Glenfiddich Ancient Reserve, more people would drink whisky”. Well said.
Modern 18yo versions (in the triangular bottle) are said to be a bit flatter and less impressive. If you find an old decanter, be sure to try it. There are several versions of the decanter by the way (green, blue, black), worth around € 130.