Bringing together whisky and good friends

Tasting Two Rare Glenfiddich Editions – 1974 Vintage and 1987 125th Anniversary

Glenfddfich 1974 Vintage - up close

The universe works in mysterious ways. Truly, it does.

Back in May 2012 I highlighted the Glenfiddich 1974 as my Whisky of the Month (which is more like Whisky of the Quarter as I don’t get around to updating it often enough) and I wistfully hoped that some day I would get to taste this rare dram. Well, that day arrived thanks to the Glenfiddich South Africa team. And it didn’t stop with the 1974. Attendees were fortunate enough to taste the 286-bottles only Glenfiddich 1987 125th Anniversary Edition too.

Thami Banda - SA Glenfiddich ambassador MC for the evening was Glenfiddich South Africa brand ambassador Thami Banda, who was as enthused and passionate as always – a great asset to the brand.

The lovely Lauren Kuhlmey, marketing manager for Glenfiddich SA, was in attendance too, answering more than a few questions regarding availability of the bottlings in South Africa (more on that below).

Thami’s take on the 1974 Vintage – the Ambassadors’ Edition – created by a panel of Glenfiddich brand ambassadors from around the world, was that the whisky was a tribute to us – whisky lovers the world over. He stated that we are the brand’s ultimate ambassadors as combined we reach a far larger audience than the brand ambassadors can hope to. It was a rousing speech and one that I was happy to buy into on the night.

And it looks as though Glenfiddich are putting their money where their mouth is as 6 bottles have come in to South Africa to be used in tasting events at the 2013 FNB Whisky Live Festival. A real treat for attendees.

Glenfiddich 1987 – The Anniversary Edition

A dram of Glenfiddich 1987 The whisky was laid down in a European oak sherry butt, exactly 100 years after the distillery opened on Christmas day in 1887. 25 years later, William Grant’s great-great grandson Peter Gordon (company director) hand-picked cask 19996 from a short-list selected by rian Kinsman and it was bottled as the Anniversary Edition.
Bottles: 286
ABV: 55.2%
Age: 25 years old
Nose: Has to be the best Glenfiddich nose I’ve ever experienced! More complex than a typical sherried whisky – berries, cinnamon, roasted nuts, some coffee and citrus.
Palate: An explosion of flavour! If I had to simplify it to a single taste it would be strawberry sherbert. Luscious on the tongue, but there’s a zing from the spices, oak and citrus and it dries quite quickly in the mouth.
Finish: It just keeps rolling on and on and on… Magic stuff.
The 1987 is a fantastic whisky! It has a fantastic price too at R9999, but at least those folks with deep enough pockets will be able to acquire a bottle, unlike the 1974. Makro have 8 bottles of the 1987 Glenfiddich for sale and I believe that 2 have already been sold at the time of writing this, so if you’re keen on getting one you’d better hurry.

Glenfiddich 1974 – The Ambassador’s Edition

A dram of Glenfiddich 1974 Vintage For the background on this whisky, you can read my post on it over here.
Bottles: 1000 (A lot less than that remain now!)
Age: 36 years old
ABV: 46.8%
Nose: Citrus, pears and pineapple, a touch of caramel and slightly nutty.
Palate: Velvety vanilla sweetness mixed with the fruits picked up on the nose. Cinnamon and a touch of oak.
Finish: Quite long! The toffee and fruits fade and the oak stands its ground.
As mentioned, the Glenfiddich 1974 will be making an appearance at the Soweto leg of the FNB Whisky Live Festival. Consumers who purchase a showroom ticket (restricted to 220 per night) for the Soweto show will have access to taste the 1974. Reason enough to head down to Soweto! No bottles are being made available for sale.

As I had an affinity with the 1974 Vintage (what with sharing a birth year), I fully expected to enjoy it more than the 1987 Anniversary Edition. I couldn’t have been more wrong! The 1974 stuck fairly close to the typical Glenfiddich DNA whereas the 1987 was a completely different beast to the signature style. Perhaps a case of the brand ambassadors wanting to show how well they identified with the Glenfiddich style and the company director making his own stamp on the brand, showing great-great granddaddy Grant that he could select something equally different and terrific? Either way, the end result is two rather spectacular drams. (With the ’87 being my outright winner.)

All in all a very enjoyable evening. A great setting, nice food and two really special whiskies. Well done Glenfiddich, well done.


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