If you’ve been drinking whisky for awhile, I’m pretty sure you have your own preferred go-to whisky brand(s). In the case of single malts, these 3 are arguably the most popular among the various ‘Glen’ whiskies.
That being said, each of these brands feature their own unique range of expressions in addition to their own distinctive distillation processes. On that note, have you ever wondered which among the 3 ‘Glens’ have the best 18YO expression?
Let’s break each of them down without harbouring any bias towards one particular brand as they’re all well-crafted single malt whiskies in their own right. We’ll kick things off with:
Glenfiddich 18 Year Old
This 18 year old from Glenfiddich’s core range is aged in small batches of no more than 150 casks per year. It is matured in both Spanish Oloroso wood and American oak casks.
The distillery’s on-site workers will constantly check on each cask throughout the maturation process to ensure the condition of the oak is at its finest to instil notes of apple, cinnamon and robust oak.
While some have claimed Glenfiddich’s 18YO to be a little too harsh upon entering the mouth, this can be easily fixed by adding a dash of water.
Ultimately, this whisky has a very unique complexity to it which has been met with several awards and acclaim from both whisky lovers and industry experts.
- Nose: Zesty grapefruit, baked toffee apples, chocolate, wood, cinnamon.
- Palate: Candied fruits, Glenfiddich’s signature taste balanced with rich notes of dried apricot, cinnamon, toffee, ginger, hints of Sherry.
- Finish: Peels and a touch of salted toffee.
Glenlivet 18 Year Old
We’ve previously covered Glenlivet’s 18YO expression in an older article but basically, The 18YO is brought to life by Glenlivet’s Master Distiller Alan Winchester
Having held that esteemed position since 2009, Alan masterfully takes this expression through several cask types including first (unused) and second-fill American oak as well as ex-sherry oak.
Ageing the spirit in the American oak casks brings about a sort of tropical fruitiness while the ex-sherry oak adds a spicy complexity to this whisky.
Elegant and balanced, The Glenlivet 18 Year Old has won countless awards (more than any other expression in their core range).
- Nose: Very big and well-rounded, notes of sultanas, sherried peels, barley sugars, toasty cereals, floral, a touch of fudge, gentle wisps of smoke.
- Palate: Full and rich with notes of tannic oak, manuka honey, walnut with apples and orange peels, fennel, spearmint.
- Finish: Long and dry with a spicy oak note.
Glenmorangie 18 YO ‘Extremely Rare’
Glenmorangie’s 18YO expression actually has the words ‘extremely rare‘ imprinted onto its bottle. Hailing from Glenmorangie’s Prestige Range, the 18 year old spends its first 15 years ageing in American white oak bourbon casks.
After this time, 30% of the spirit is placed in Oloroso sherry casks before it is bottled with the remaining spirit ageing in the bourbon casks upon reaching the 18 year mark.
Bottled at 43% ABV, this expression is rich and rounded. Some have described it as a creamy and fruity single malt with an elegant bottle to match.
- Nose: Creamy and tangy notes of citrus, cinnamon, stewed fruits and caramel-drizzled pannacotta.
- Palate: Tropical and creamy like nectarines in yoghurt, acacia honey, peaches in cream, butterscotch.
- Finish: Tangy oak and grilled grapefruit, plenty of dark sugar caramelised on top.
So… Which Is The Best?
I absolutely hate this question (even though that’s the whole basis for this article). At the end of the day, it all boils down to what you’re looking for in a whisky.
Thankfully for you, we’ve listed each expression’s flavours and aromas down which I sincerely hope provides some sort of guidance. Even so, the best way to truly determine which among the three is best for you is… to try them all!
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