Glenfiddich IPA Experiment & Project XX – Group Review

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Recently Beth Havers, the Canadian Brand Ambassador for Glenfiddich, gave Toronto Whisky Society members a chance to try two new Glenfiddich releases (Glenfiddich IPA Experiment & Project XX).  Huge thank you to Beth for giving us a chance to try these two whiskies which were recently released at the LCBO.

Below are the aggregated thoughts, notes and review scores, along with the individual scores and reviews of the members who reviewed the whiskies.

 

Glenfiddich Experimental Series – Project XX

(NAS, 47%, NCF, $99.95 at the LCBO)

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Project XX is the second bottling in the Experimental Series, and is a blend of 20 casks selected by 20 brand ambassadors (17 bourbon barrels, 2 sherry butts and 1 port pipe). Fun fact – Beth was the ambassador who selected the port pipe, and as someone who loves port pipe whisky, kudos to her for her pick!

Overall Notes:

  • Nose: Orange, golden raisins, malt, honey, oak, apple, nutmeg
  • Taste: Honey, orange, apple, custard, caramel, pepper, cinnamon
  • Finish: Oak, dried leaves, raisin, apple, cinnamon

TWS Scores:

  • High: 87
  • Low: 80
  • Average: 83.1

Bryan Vanderkruk:

  • Nose: slightly sour, slight earthiness, potato, burnt sugar, honey, oak, some pepper, dark chocolate
  • Palate: oak, some weird funkiness, slight chocolatey note again, dried fruit, some earthiness, black cherries, creamy mouthfeel. Some spices, cinnamon especially. Dry sherry notes, some tobacco smoke.
  • Finish: medium length, tobacco, red fruit, oak
  • Score: 84/100

Better than the IPA, partially owing to the higher ABV and associated body improvement, but also the nice tobacco port note and red fruit complement it well.


Devoz:

  • Nose: Honey, strong fruit, peaches, citrus, vanilla, apple, raisin.
  • Palate: Vanilla custard, butter, apricot, cinnamon, oak, strong bourbon cask notes, red fruit, creamy
  • Finish: Creamy, medium, vanilla, apple, raisin, oak, nutty, milk chocolate,cinnamon.
  • Score: 83

This was surprisingly nice. Butter, apple, cinnamon and raisin worked well together. The higher ABV worked well, lower proof and some of the flavors would have been muted. Wish there was more port cask whisky in the blend, as I am a massive fan of port matured and finished whisky.


Xile:

  • Nose: Orange, golden raisins, malt, honey, oak, apple, nutmeg
  • Taste: Honey, orange, apple, custard, caramel, pepper, cinnamon
  • Finish: Oak, dried leaves, raisin, apple, cinnamon
  •  84/100

 A heavier style on the nose of this one. Fruity (but richer from the wine influence) and malty with a bit of oak and spice in the background. The orange and apple are more pronounced in the taste up front, leading into a big helping of custard and caramel sauce with a shot of spice. Creamy mouthfeel. Dry finish, the oak gets more pronounced with a mild dry leafiness. Fruits and spice poke through to round things out through the end. Tastes like autumn actually.

This one offers a different take on Glenfiddich, with a bit more depth than the standard fare. The mix of casks ends up in something that is well composed, with a surprising amount of the wine influence poking through and the higher ABV/NCF (always welcome and appreciated in my Glenfiddich) provides a more satisfying mouthfeel and fuller flavours than the first experiment. Bring on Project XXX!


Boyd86:

  • Nose: Toffee, honey, apple, dried fruits – raisins and apricots, orange peel, cinnamon. pepper  
  • Palate: Honey, apples, toffee, orange, oak, vanilla, raisins, almonds, cinnamon  
  • Finish: Medium. Baked apples, malt, raisin, cinnamon, almond.  
  • Overall: A nice dram with a lot of traditional speyside notes. It shows good balance between the sweet, spice, and fruit notes and is fairly complex. Increasing the abv to 47% definitely helped and I really with Glenfiddich would do this for more of their releases. Between the 2 releases I’d recommend this one if you get a chance to try it.  
  • Score: 83

ConnorSlack:

  • Nose: Loads of sherry, hot, black pepper, something musky
  • Palate: Sherry, orange, toffee, brown sugar.
  • Finish: Dry
  • Really enjoyed this one too, nose was odd but the palate saved it, and just slightly better than the IPA.
  • Rating. 83/100

Jeremy:

  • Nose: Fresh lemon, simple syrup, apple, butter and honey
  • Taste: Malt, apple juice, honey comb, oranges.
  • Finish: Bitter chocolate
  • Score: 83

Jolarbear:

  • Nose: Lemon, honey, creme brulee, strawberry,
  • Taste: Rich malt, toffee, swedish berries, old wood
  • 87/100

Overall: I really like this as it is much more interesting than I thought it would be. There is a nice mix between the sweet aspect and the deep layers.  This is worth a buy to me as there are layers and it is very well done and a decent novelty that provides an interesting story.

 


 

TOModera:

  • Nose: Grapefruit, honeycomb, butter, apple blossom
  • Taste: Raisin, anise, ginger tea, apple butter, peanut
  • Finish: Clarified butter, cashew, cinnamon, apple cake
  • 80/100

Whiskytanuki:

  • Nose: Apple, ginger, pepper, mineral, malt, honey.  
  • Palate:  Malt, pepper, ginger, cinnamon, vanilla custard, apple, light tropical, red fruits.  
  • Finish:  Medium, pepper, cinnamon, apple skin, oak.  
  • Score: 81/100

 

Glenfiddich Experimental Series – IPA Cask Finish

(NAS, IPA Cask Finish, 43%, $89.95 at the LCBO)

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IPA Cask Finish uses the uncommon and unusual finish of an IPA cask on the whisky. Always nice to see distilleries using unique casks for maturations or finishes.

Overall Notes:

  • Nose: Apple, digestive biscuit, honey, melon, malt, floral hints
  • Taste: Apple, pear, vanilla, malt, grapefruit, pepper
  • Finish: Melon, vanilla, malt, pepper

TWS Scores:

  • High: 84
  • Low: 76
  • Average:  80.2

Bryan Vanderkruk:

  • Nose: apple, chocolate, maybe a slight hoppy note, I can smell the beer-y notes but they’re pretty indistinct. Spices, cumin, citrus, bready.
  • Palate: malty, light fruit, apples, pears, milk chocolate, some oak. Slight bitterness. Citrus. Decent body on it and better than the regular 12yr offering.
  • Finish: the finish is where you can taste the IPA with some hops and bitterness. There’s also some chocolate and oak.
  • Score: 81/100

I like this better than fiddich12 as the 43% gives it better body and it has some interesting notes. The IPA finish doesn’t shine through very brightly, but I’d probably complain if it was too apparent. It’s a tasty dram

 


 

Devoz:

  • Nose: Melon, hoppy, apple, honey. Tons of fruit, honey, caramel.
  • Palate: Fruit forward, pear, melon, pepper, slight sour/bitter notes, apple, mal, oatmeal
  • Finish: Medium. Apple, melon, vanilla, fruity, bitter ale notes on back end.
  • Score: 81

Overall the IPA finish was not dominate, adding some notes on the finish and palate, but certainly not the dominate profile. I prefer this over the 12/15yr OB.


 

Xile:

  • Nose: Apple, digestive biscuit, honey, melon, malt, floral hints
  • Taste: Apple, pear, vanilla, malt, grapefruit, pepper
  • Finish: Melon, vanilla, malt, pepper
  •  81/100

Fruity and sweet, with the standard Glenfiddich apple and slightly honeyed biscuit-like notes to start. A little malty with something mildly floral as well. To taste, the apples start off sweet, but interestingly develop into a sour apple note a little later. Maltier now, and slightly bitter towards the back end. The sour/bitter theme continues through the finish with a sprinkling of pepper for mild seasoning.

It’s quite simple, but fairly decent. As far as the IPA influence goes, I don’t think it did much other than making things slightly more sour/bitter I suppose. Ok fine, a little yeasty too perhaps. Really not a very radical experiment at all though. It was definitely fun to try, but if I were in a buying mood… for the experience this provides, I couldn’t justify the premium over the standard 12 or 15 for a bottle.


 

Boyd86:

  • Nose: Very fruity. Starts with citrus (orange and lemon) followed by apples and pears and finally some apricots and honeydew melon come with time.There is also some light honey and spice.  
  • Palate: Apples, pears, honey, bitter citrus, sour grapes, pepper  
  • Finish: Medium. Apples, pears and citrus again. Slightly bitter.  
  • Overall: I wasn’t a fan of this one. It was very fruity but the sour/bitter elements throughout didn’t mesh very well in my opinion and took away from the experience. Interesting to try but I’d take the Project XX over this anytime.  
  • Score: 78

 

ConnorSlack:

  • Color: pale, straw
  • Nose: Melon, typicall Glenfiddich profile, pepper, pears, slightly flat, odd muted smell.
  • Palate: Sweet n Sour, punch of fruit, honey, and low and behold, some hops!
  • Finish: Short, drying, hoppy and hot.
  • Thoughts: Really enjoyed this one, does not stray too far from Fiddich profile, but still a interesting concept with the hoppy notes, wouldn’t buy a bottle though.
  • Rating. 82/100

 

Jeremy:

  • Nose: Roasted nuts, malt, apple chips
  • Taste: Heavy cream, apples, liquorice
  • Finish: Icing sugar
  • Score: 84

 


Jolarbear:

  • Nose: apple, pear
  • Taste: Light malt, apple, Bitter heat lingering. Some astringency
  • Rating 76/100

 


 

TOModera:  

  • Nose: Melon, caramel, ginger cake, apple
  • Taste: Apple, hops, ginger, oatmeal cookie, butter
  • Finish: Floral smoke, brine, nectarine, biscuit/oatmeal
  • 82/100

 

WhiskyTanuki:

  • Nose: Melon, apple, pepper, red apple skin,  pepper, metallic.  
  • Palate:  Soy, pepper, apple, pear, mild wood,
  • Finish:  Medium finish, pepper, apple
  • Score: 77/100

 


 

Overall, these are two surprising releases from Glenfiddich, with good value at the LCBO.  The Experimental Series is off to a strong start with two unique offerings. Hoping to see more unique finishes and maturations as the Experimental Series continues. It was interesting to see based on personal preference which of the two releases Toronto Whisky Society members preferred. It is certainly a compliment to the quality and style of whiskies which comprised these two new releases.

One thought on “Glenfiddich IPA Experiment & Project XX – Group Review

  1. I recently had those two in a tasting with German brand ambassador Markus Heinze (who contributed an 18-year-old whisky from a bourbon cask to the Project XX vatting, btw). I liked ’em both a lot and I’m happy to read that you guys enjoyed sipping ’em, too. Currently, I am quite curious to learn more about part three of the Experimental Series. It should be revealed any day from now, shouldn’t it?

    Like

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