Glenfiddich Wardhead 1997 Cooper’s Choice Port Cask Finish

Thanks to /u/devoz for pouring me this dram.

“You ever had a Wardhead?”

Yup, I was asked that. I stare back at people who ask me that, and I’m drawing a blank. Never heard of it. Then I’m told that Wardhead is Glenfiddich, teaspooned with an equally aged whisky. So it’s a blend. A vatting, if you will. Why? Because Glenfiddich doesn’t allow independent bottlers to release their whisky without this teaspoon.

So have I had a Wardhead? No, however, I’ve enjoyed many a Glenfiddich. As it’s popular, getting a cask strength one is very hard.

Enter Glenfiddich Wardhead 1997 Cooper’s Choice Port Cask Finish. Not going to lie, I’m pretty excited. Past review readers will remember that Glenfiddich used a port cask whisky in the XX release, and that helped it quite a bit.

So a Glenfiddich that was finished in a Port Pipe should be good, right? Well we can’t jump to that conclusion. We have to taste it first. Let’s see how it tastes, shall we?

Price: N/A at the LCBO

Region: Speyside

Vintage: 02.1997

Bottled: 2018

Cask Type: Bourbon, then a Port Pipe Finish

Cask Number: 1239

Number of bottles: 330

Abv: 52.5%

Colour: 5YR 2/6

Nose: Plum tart, clotted cream, grapefruit, Xmas spices

Nice buttery/plum note right off the bat. My English Xmas childhood is repeated over and over, blocking out the fact that I didn’t actually live it and am Canadian. Cream, some tart notes, and spices.

Nice nose overall, really draws me in. However, take that with some hesitation. I’m a sucker for Xmas notes. And I love butter, as my clothes know too well from splitting.

Taste: Mushroom, red licorice, ginger, ginger, clotted cream, lemon

Ok… uh, where the fuck did my Dicken’s Xmas go? The hell? Earth mixed with strong ginger notes (it’s there twice because it’s very strong), there’s spice, earth… Uh, it’s not really working.

In other words: Make yourself a big mushroom heavy cream sauce, and then dump in some ginger and anise, but too much, and also some sweetness, and tell me if it works.

Finish: Ginger, oak, cereal, mushroom, nutmeg, cola, orange

The finish is everything I said above however there’s cola and orange to really reinforce how off it is. Uh, too bad.

Conclusion: Great nose, goes downhill from there. That nose would have been the perfect opener to a big winter dram. Instead, it opens up to an earth-filled mishmash.

Like… I feel this was an earthy dram that was having issues, and they added it to port to hope the port would take over, and instead they got a steak and ice cream dish.

How do I even score this? I love the nose. I kept coming back to it. The taste and finish were so rough it tastes like my food when I used to try fusion dishes. Fusion between what? Not even I knew. I wasn’t that experienced in food outside of North American WASP culture, and wasn’t that great at it.

I’d have to say skip this one, unless you’re using it as a perfume.

76/100

Scotch review #1128, Speyside review #323, Whisky review #1750

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