Glenfiddich 18 Small Batch Reserve

”Eighteen Without a Bullet”

Whisky Review # 889

Country: Scotland
Region: Speyside
Brand: Glenfiddich 18 Small Batch Reserve - Batch # 3464
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Age: 18 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 40%
Maturation: Mix of Ex-Bourbon and Ex-Oloroso Sherry casks
Chill Filtration: Yes
Price Range: US$ 70-90 (September 2020)
Price/Quality Ratio: 😐 Okay
Buying Advice: 😔 Nice for Beginners. Not really interesting for the long-time fans


Mahogany (Artificially Coloured)


Can a Scotch Single Malt smell like Comfort Food? Probably not but it was the first thing that came to my mind when smelling this Glenfiddich. The comfortable but not overly exciting Aromas of a well-matured modern mainstream Malt. It's agreeable and forgettable at the same time. The Sherry notes are present but not in a very pronounced way. The Nose is Medium-Sweet and ever so slightly Meaty.

Main Aromas:

Toasted Barley, Slightly Burnt Buttered Toast, Toffee, Marzipan, Sweet Apples & Pears, Dried Fruit like Figs, Raisins and Apricot, Grass and Straw, Nutella, Dusty Casks and Wood Shavings, Cinnamon, Mint and Ginger.
Supportive Aroma Accents:

Demerara Sugar, Salted Caramel, Marshmallow, Honey, Vanilla, Wax, Floral Soap, Ripe Banana, Mixed Citrus Juice, Bounty Candy Bar and Pepper.


Arrival and Mouthfeel are quite Thin. It should be a crime against the Whisky-loving community to bottle an 18 year old Single Malt at 40%. It's a damn shame! This would be so much better at 46%! Otherwise the Palate is friendly enough to appeal to beginning whisky drinkers. For the advanced fans it holds few secrets like most modern mainstream Malts. The Palate is mainly Sweet with a few light Bitter and Sour notes for balance.

Main Flavours:

Toasted Barley, Vanilla, Toffee, Bounty Candy Bars, Rum-Soaked Raisins, Dried Apricots/Figs, Orange Peel, Sweet Apples/Pears, Nutella, Dusty Casks, Cinnamon, Ginger and Licorice.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Honey, Salted Caramel, Marzipan, Fruit Cake, Straw, Wax, Espresso, Mixed Citrus Juice, Pepper, Nutmeg and Mint.


Short/Medium-Long, Thin and mostly Sweet. A little bit Dry towards the end. I find Toasted Barley, Toffee, Vanilla, Salted Caramel, Honey-Nut Cereals, Fruit Cake, Rum-Soaked Raisins, Orange Peel, Bounty Candy Bars, Dried Apricot, Sweet Apples & Pears, Dusty Oak, Herbal Tea, Tobacco, Pepper, Cinnamon, Ginger, Nutmeg, Mint and Licorice. After a while some Strawberry Cake and Espresso.

Drinking Advice:

This Glenfiddich does not need added Water.

Rating: 84

Nose: 21.5 - Taste: 21 - Finish: 20.5 - Overall: 21

Drinking Experience Neat: Good

Drinking Experience on the Rocks: Good


Glenfiddich was founded in Dufftown in 1886 by William Grant. It's one of the few distilleries that is still in the hands of the founder's family. In the year 1963 it became the first whisky that was marketed worldwide as a Single Malt. It was the first Single Malt to appear in the Travel Retail and Duty Free shops as well and the chance is huge that Glenfiddich was your first Single Malt. It was mine! It is also the first distillery that opened a visitor centre, back in 1969. The current core range consists of the 12, 15, 18, 21, 26, 30  and 40 years old. We visited the distillery in May 2014 and May 2019. Despite the large number of visitors they still do a good job on the Tours.

After Maturation, Malt Master Brian Kinsman hand-selected 150 exceptional casks and married those in large wooden tuns for another 3 months. So the distillery goes a long way to present this Small Batch Reserve. And then bottles it at 40%! Does that make sense? To me it doesn't! Better to use this fine new bottle and packaging and present a truly up-graded 18 Years with 100% First Fill casks, Natural Color, No Chill-Filtration and a decent ABV of 46%. Now that would make an impact. As it is though the Small Batch Reserve is a nice gift for beginning whisky fans but that's about it. Come on Brian, think this one through again!


Jan van den Ende                                                                 September 14, 2020

All pictures were taken during our visit in May 2019

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