Glenfiddich 21 y.o. Gran Reserva Rum Cask Finish Review

Glenfiddich 21 y.o. Gran Reserva Rum Cask Finish237

40% abv

Score:  87.5/100


I’ve never really loved a Glenfiddich. Nor have I ever fallen head over heels for a rum cask matured or finished whisky. I’ve liked some of each, but that’s about as committal as I’ve ever been willing to concede.  So far, at least.  I should also add that I have tried several malts that have been matured in this manner, including both Ardbeg and Port Ellen bottlings.  Just not really my thing.

‘Fiddich, in and of itself, boasts a rather generic profile that doesn’t really thrill me, and rum is a spirit that hasn’t won over these sweet-shy taste buds.  Put ’em together, though, and I’m pleased to say we end up with something that equals a bit more than just the sum of its parts.  There actually is a bit of harmony here.

Rum can often carry burnt sugar or bitter, tarry molasses notes and over-the-top bucketloads of vanilla and spice.  My early fears were that these notes would steamroll the more delicate nuances of a 21 year old 40%’er.  Fortunately it was a short finishing period (four months, from what I understand), and it seems that these were very clean rum barrels that gave up a decent amount of influence without being overbearing.

To be completely honest, this is almost exactly what I expected it would be, albeit maybe slightly better integrated than I thought was possible. Glenfiddich’s robust orchard fruitiness works quite well with the sugars and spices from the rum barrels.

Still not in love, but definitely in ‘like’ with this one.

Nose:  Very sweet.  Cinnamon candy apples.  A touch of orange.  Caramel.  Decent sprinkling of spice.  Honey and syrup.  A soft light fudgy note and yeah, a little bit of rum’s spicy sweetness.  Something like a Caramel Macchiato.

Palate:  A bit of a letdown after the promise of the nose.  A touch oakier than I’d expect.  Caramel apple.  Cinnamon, coffee bean, a little ginger and a bitterness that could be a sort of molasses note.  Or maybe that’s just the power of suggestion.

Thoughts:  Not spectacular, but at least quite good.  The mouthfeel is a little lacking, and the finish is short, but overall a fairly successful malt-meets-rum experiment.


– Reviewed by:  Curt

– Photo:  Curt

1 thought on “Glenfiddich 21 y.o. Gran Reserva Rum Cask Finish Review

  1. Robert

    I got a bottle of this a few years ago for Christmas from my son. Not a fan of Glenfiddich at all, I was still very thankful as it was a very thoughtful gift and was definitely expensive! Thankfully I found out, like you, that it was quite good! Not good enough to go out and buy on my own, but I thoroughly enjoyed it, especially since he bought it for me.


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