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Glenfiddich 15 Year Old Solera Reserve

Solera Reserve

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@awhiskyodysseyReview by @awhiskyodyssey

27th Dec 2012

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Glenfiddich 15 Year Old Solera Reserve
  • Nose
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  • Taste
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  • Finish
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  • Balance
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  • Overall
    80

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I’ve been a bit of a Glenfiddich basher for a while now. I’ve never liked their 12 YO; it is relatively inexpensive, but lacks depth of character. I've cast the Glenfiddich distillery as a slight villain, suggesting that their products are a mass-produced caricature of single malt Scotch (I’m an equal opportunity snob: I’ve cast Glenlivet in the same mould). But a recent reality check (in the form of an argument from a Glenfiddich aficionado) caused me to re-think my opinion: I’ve never sampled the distillery’s more mature expressions, so I decided to give the 15 YO Solera a try. And I was pleasantly surprised: the 15 YO is a remarkable upgrade in complexity from the 12 YO expression.

Color: Amber

Nose: Spices, vanilla-oak, citrus, and a restrained peat.

Palate: Clover-honey, raisins, spice, vanilla, citrus (some lime notes), and faint wisps of smoke.

Finish: Medium. Christmas cake, lightly peppered spice, and oak.

Overall impressions: Diluting with a few drops of water opened up the flavour profile slightly, bringing out subtle tones of toffee, but I prefer it neat (the ABV is low to begin with (40 %); I’d love to sample a cask-strength sample or a dram with a slightly higher ABV). If you want a break from salt and smoke, this expression provides a warm, peaceful, affordable dram with a pleasant personality. In my local store it is priced slightly higher than the Glendronach 12 YO, and below the Balvenie 12 YO DoubleWood, which is about where it belongs.

Interestingly, the Solera expression is a constant work in progress and each bottling offers unique characteristics, as described on the Glenfiddich website:

"The richly layered Glenfiddich 15 Year Old single malt Scotch whisky is innovatively matured in three types of oak cask: sherry, bourbon and new oak, before being married in our unique, handcrafted Oregon pine Solera vat. Year on year, this Solera vat is never emptied but is always kept at least half full creating a deliciously harmonious and intense whisky which gets more complex and intriguing every year."

Nose: Spices, vanilla-oak, citrus, and a restrained peat.

Palate: Clover-honey, raisins, spice, vanilla, citrus (some lime notes), and faint wisps of smoke.

Finish: Medium. Christmas cake, lightly peppered spice, and oak.

Overall impressions: Diluting with a few drops of water opened up the flavour profile slightly, bringing out subtle tones of toffee, but I prefer it neat (the ABV is low to begin with (40 %); I’d love to sample a cask-strength sample or a dram with a slightly higher ABV). If you want a break from salt and smoke, this expression provides a warm, peaceful, affordable dram. It has slightly more body than a typical Speysider, and offers a pleasant personality. In my local store it is priced higher than the Glendronach 12 YO, and below the Balvenie 12 YO DoubleWood, which is about where it belongs.

Interestingly, the Solera expression is a constant work in progress and each bottling offers unique characteristics, as described on the Glenfiddich website:

The richly layered Glenfiddich 15 Year Old single malt Scotch whisky is innovatively matured in three types of oak cask: sherry, bourbon and new oak, before being married in our unique, handcrafted Oregon pine Solera vat. Year on year, this Solera vat is never emptied but is always kept at least half full creating a deliciously harmonious and intense whisky which gets more complex and intriguing every year.

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