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Saturday, 17 October 2009

Birthday bliss

Today is NOT my birthday. Nor is tomorrow. Actually it's nearly another year away and I shall be 35. Hmmm. Quick mirror check. A particularly hairy face stares back. A few grey folicles are appearing in my beard- not many, but just the right number to make themselves known and give you that feeling that the advancement of time and motion are definitely in full flight.

Don't get me wrong. I think I have finally grown into my own face and 'look', whereas in the past I tried in vein to sport some frankly appalling haircuts & fashions. I have pictures to back this up. What i'm trying to say is that at a certain point in your life, everything just clicks into place and feels right.

A few days ago I tasted a whisky from 1975, the year of my birth. One always gets a sense of occasion when this happens- to me it's happened twice. The first time, the bottling was really good, vibrant and full of fruity character which made me feel that being born in 1975 was the year of champions.

The 2nd time however, the bottling was really poor, woody, sulphurous and totally past it. That did no end for my self esteem, I can tell you. Things got worse when I found out that the no. 1 single the week I was born was not David Bowie's Space Oddity as I had previously dined out on (actually his first no.1) but the infinitely less cool- 'Sailing' by Rod Stewart.... Oh joy.

This particular bottling we're reviewing today probably needs little by way of an introduction. Glenfiddich are well known for releasing some highly commended Vintage Reserve single cask bottlings. Last year's 1977 was pretty great all round, save for some slightly woody notes. The 1975 Reserve release coincides with the 40th anniversary of the Glenfiddich Distillery Visitors Centre, which first opened in 1969. Will this one restore my confidence in 1975, or make matters worse....??

Glenfiddich Vintage Reserve - 1975 - Cask no. 22000 (sherry butt)- 53.4% - 70cl - 520 bottles

Nose: Subtle vanilla fudge, cedar, fresh mint, coal dust and sweet wood smoke all combine with the rich warm notes of dried apricot, damsons and fruitcake. No woody effects of an over-aged sherry cask here, just really lovely aromas, all in their right place. With water (just a hint, mind) and some slightly fresher notes of rhubarb come through, but this fairs best at it's full cask strength, unquestionably.

Palate: Sherbet, lovely fresh strawberry notes leading into stringy strawberry licorice and a slightly bitter chocolate note on the death. With water and 'end of summer' fruit compote notes emerge with spicy dark toffee apple and crumble topping. Hugely rich and characterful.

Finish: Long, with the chocolate notes leading into a drier sherry note and cinder toffee.

Overall: On reflection, I think this is a better bottling than last year's Vintage Reserve. It oozes character, but there are no signs of deterioration or tiredness. Certainly not a grey hair in sight either!!

Once again, 1975 has regained that magic and i'll continue to seek out drams of this vintage, despite the aforementioned duffer. As i've mentioned on here before, my compatriot Joel is shortly celebrating his 30th birthday and has assembled a menu of UNBELIEVABLE whiskies from 1979. That's going to be one hell of a night and- one hell of a post!! stay tuned for this one.
A little way to go until my 40th, but rest assured, if I can afford it, this Glenfiddich will feature in there somewhere. I'd urge any of you looking for something special to do the same too.