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Glenfiddich 15 Year Old Solera Reserve

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@SquidgyAshReview by @SquidgyAsh

3rd Sep 2013


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

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I've been watching the HBO series called Carnivale lately, well to be honest I should say that I'm rewatching the series as HBO is so very awesome and is always making something that I super enjoy such as Game of Thrones, Sopranos, Oz, etc and the thing that I find goes great with a good tv series is a good whisky.

I've been sitting on heaps of whisky samples for the longest time as I received many of them in mid to late June, but shortly thereafter I fell sick, sick to the point that I couldn't smell or taste whisky at all. As you all know, this is dangerously sick indeed.

Now that I finally have my palate back I'm happily making my way through the samples, exploring the whisky world and on today's menu is Glenfiddich 15 year old, Solera bottling.

Now for those who are unsure of what a solera bottling is, it's essentially where you have a vat of whisky from all sorts of barrels, and what you do is as you pull whisky out of the vat, you replenish it with more whisky so in theory you have a continually evolving whisky, that gradually gets older and older so that if you started this vat say 15 years ago and have been taking whisky out and putting whisky in, you still have the whisky from 15 years ago in.

Or maybe an easier way to explain it would be to say you have a bottle of whisky, it's an empty bottle of whisky so what you do is all the bits and bobs from your other bottles, the bottles that only have a dram or two left, you combine them together and as you drink from this combined bottle, you'd replace what you drank with more whisky so even years later you're still getting a little bit of the original bottling.

It's a very cool idea, really nifty in fact and many whisky geeks that I know do this.

The Glenfiddich 15 year old is just this sort of whisky, done with sherry, bourbon and new oak casks. This creates an interesting little whisky that contains notes from all of them.

So I crack the sample, pour it into my trusty little glencairn and give it a nose.

It's a sweet nose with honey and sherry immediately evident, and then you look beneath that and more appears. the trademark Glenfiddich apples appear, cinnamon, nutmeg, sultanas, figs, raisins, and a touch of toffee and vanilla. You can definitely pick up each casks influence.

Time for a taste though!

A big vanilla kick starts off on the palate, with hints of bitter oak, apples, cinnamon, nutmeg, honey, caramel and a hint of cocoa that slowly grows on the palate.

Not a bad little whisky, however it feels very thin on the mouth, a result of the 40% abv.

The finish is small, almost non existent, however there is a ghost of a wisp that has apples lingering, caramel, hints of citrus and cocoa. Like I said it's a ghost of a finish so that even a couple of minutes after you've finished your sip you have apples lingering oh so faintly in your mouth. Not bad at all!

It's not a bad little whisky as I've said before and runs around $100 AUS at Dan Murphy's. For the serious whisky geek I might pass it up, those guys who like mean are single cask, cask strength fiends, but for someone who's looking for an easy drinking whisky with a wee bit of complexity, it's not a bad whisky to go with.

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Victor commented

'Not a bad whisky, thin in the mouth' is exactly how I would describe standard Glenfiddich 15. Many love it...too thin for me to buy a bottle. I like the Glenfiddich 15 Distillery Edition, the one that came out about 2 to 3 years ago, much much better. 51% does the trick,...excellent in the mouth, except there was, like, ZERO FINISH. Maybe a new batch of that one will have a finish. With a finish, that one would be an astoundingly good whisky.

10 years ago 0

SquidgyAsh commented

Hahaha agreed Victor, after trying this whisky I could easily think of quite a few people I know who'd love it and think of it as brilliant, but honestly in my opinion Grants needs to raise the abvs on all of their whiskies to at least 46% and ideally 50%. This one for me had this ghost of a finish, not bad, but it just sort of disappeared.

Next Glenfiddich to try is the 18 year old!

10 years ago 0

systemdown commented

The 15yo Solera was my first love, back in about 2005. I will always remember that bottle fondly. Have not had it in years so I don't know what I'd make of it now, but I'm pretty sure it'd still be a tasty dram.

To clarify on the vatting process - since a whisky sold with an age statement must be representative of the youngest whisky in it, such is the case with the 15yo Solera too. My understanding is that nothing younger than 15 years of age goes into the solera vat; the vat serves to marry the old and newly added (15 yo) whiskies that go into it for a period of time before whisky is drawn for bottling.

The solera vat at Glenfiddich is never emptied below half way.

10 years ago 0