Gran Reserva (21 yr. old)

Your tastes and our tastes are discussed here, so make sure you share your pleasures with us.
New member
Posts: 8
Joined: Wed Dec 08, 2004 12:45 am

Gran Reserva (21 yr. old)

Postby birdman » Wed Dec 08, 2004 12:47 am

One of my favourites from last year was the 21 yr. old Glenfiddich Havana Reserve. After the holiday season, I could no longer find it but noticed it again just yesterday under its new name "Gran Reserva".

I plan on sampling it shortly and hopefully it will be as excellent as I remember it. Anyone have any comments?

Triple Gold Member
Posts: 2724
Joined: Wed Jan 08, 2003 2:01 am

Postby Admiral » Wed Dec 08, 2004 3:45 am

Apparently the Havana Club raised objections to the use of the term Havana, which is why Glenfiddich changed it to Gran Reserva.

When I first tasted this last year, I thought it was sensational.

However, I tasted it again in a line up a few weeks ago - it was featured amongst two Balvenies (Double Wood & 15yo), the Glenfiddich 12yo, and the Glenfiddich 30yo.

Either the bottling has changed a little, or the company it was in played a part, but my thoughts this time around was that the Gran Reserva seemed a little flat.

It certainly featured a toasty butteryness that was not evident in the other Glenfiddichs, but it seemed a little dry (woody), if not lifeless. The spiciness I recall from my first tasting was not there.

As a 21yo, it was certainly inferior to its older brother! :)


Silver Member
Posts: 494
Joined: Tue Jan 14, 2003 2:01 am

Postby WestVanDave » Wed Dec 08, 2004 7:51 am

I had heard that the main reason for the name change to Gran Reserva was that if left with any reference to Cuba (Havana) this whisky could not be sold in the USA (yes there still is an embargo) - so dropping the reference to Havana is the obvious thing for Glenfiddich to do.

Cheers, Dave.

Silver Member
Posts: 258
Joined: Wed Feb 11, 2004 3:32 pm

Postby SpiritofShetland » Wed Dec 08, 2004 7:55 am

If they still use Cuban rumbarrels for the finish it's just as illegal i the US as before, but then of course it would be impossible for US authorities to prove that the barrels were Cuban.

If it's so then it must be a sad day for Canadian bordershops, aspecially those who sold the Havana Reserve at greatly inflated prices to US shoppers who just had to have it (it being illegal and all).

Deactivated Member

Postby Deactivated Member » Wed Dec 08, 2004 8:57 am

What's in a name? Well Havana Reserve might be linked to Havana Club and use someone elses name is not entirely right to do so. I guess that the Fiddich boys found that out later on, but after allready produced it and brought it on the market. However I can't see why the Fiddich can not use the name, I mean Havana is a very common name, as long as you're not using the name Havana Club Reserve for example.

If it's got to do with the legalisation within the US, I think that's going a littlebit to far. The embargo would have taken act immediately after releasing the Havana Reserve and not leave on the market for a year or so. However it's possible that the Cuban Rum affair overshadows the name of a whisky. But why leave it on the market for so long?

When I tasted it for the first time some years ago, I immediately said: 'that's not my cup of tea' . It was to sharp of flavors.

I think a bit of both about what's mentioned here might be the case. The name Havana and the US embargo against products from Cuba. However it's still possible for the US Customs & Excise to prove that the barels came from Cuba. I believe if they use Jamaican Rum nobody else would disagree, might be even well worth a try. But in the other hand lots of people think of Rum as in origional Cuban Rum, at least that's the common thought.

My 2 Euro cents,


Silver Member
Posts: 258
Joined: Wed Feb 11, 2004 3:32 pm

Postby SpiritofShetland » Wed Dec 08, 2004 9:28 am

The Cubans have started getting a bit more touchy about who can use Cuban names on their products. I used to work in a cigar shop were we sold quite a lot of Wilde Havanas (unfinished Havans for thos of you who don't speak Dutch). These were machinemade cigars with some cuban tobacco in them, made in Holland, but as oflast year or so they started coming without the word 'Havanas' on them.

As for Havana Reserve being on the US marked for a year that could account to the US Customs not realising a 'cuban' product could come from the UK - but upon discovering it they immediately banned it from sale (this happened in 2002 I think).

I do belive it's impossible for US Customs & Excise to prove that Fiddich is using Cuban barrels unless Fiddich themselves tell them. But then they may demand that Fiddich prove they don't use Cuban barrels anymore.

Gold Member
Posts: 648
Joined: Tue Nov 09, 2004 6:25 pm

Postby Tom » Wed Dec 08, 2004 7:05 pm

Yesterday i tasted all the glenfiddich range.

For starters they had to change the name because of the embargo. At least thats what the brand ambassador of Maxxium said, and he's usually very correct in these things.Nothing that comes from Cuba is allowed in the US, and "Havanna" is a name from Cuba. Still they use casks previously filled with Cuban rum so i have no idea wether this namechange makes it legal now.

As for the taste of it. Once more i totally agree with admiral, the Havanna was superb, creamy, spicy but mild, wonderfull, the Gran Reserva is much more lifeless. The rum seems to have flattened everything down, its not even creamy anymore. just light and without much flavor. However, Finishing in rum barrels is tricky as you can only keep it in there for i believe maximum 14 hours, after that the rum adds bitterness to the whisky. So i think and hope that it will depend on what cask was used for bottling, so im hoping the gran reserva is inconsistent and some botlles(from the same cask) will be better then others. They said on the tasting bottlings may vary alitlle because some casks might be finished just enough, while the one i tasted had too much i think.

Return to “Whisky Tastings”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 7 guests