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Glenfiddich 15 Year Old Solera Reserve

Interesting idea

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BReview by @BourbonNorth1

23rd Jul 2014


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

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Glenfiddich is one of the most, if not THE most, popular single malts around in terms of pure sales. Whether it deserves this level of popularity or not isn't something I'm going to argue over here, and I definitely try not to let such things sway my opinion either way- a lot of things that sell well are vastly outclassed by some lesser-known offerings, but at the same time it seems a lot of times very popular malts get panned to an extent as being 'too commercial' and the like. I can say that this particular offering, for me, falls somewhere in the middle of those two extremes- it's certainly tasty, and dangerously easy to drink, but at the same time it's certainly not what I'd call thrilling by any stretch of the imagination. Essentially it's the whisky equivalent of comfort food- it's tasty and enjoyable, but it's not impressive or particularly interesting. This would be a great drink to break out and share with some friends and relax with, particularly if they don't all drink whisky often.

What is quite interesting about Glenfiddich 15, however, is how it's aged. Glenfiddich uses a solera system, like the ones typically used to age sherry, in the production of this whisky- effectively, whisky is stored in such a way as that when some whisky is removed to be bottled, it's replaced by new whisky. You never completely get rid of all the older whisky, and you keep adding new stuff as well, allowing for a mix of characteristics from various ages. It's something that I'd be interested to see explored more, preferably at a higher strength.

With all that said, time to actually review this bottle.

The nose is gentle, smooth, and quite sweet, with raisins, vanilla, and loads of honey. Gentle spices and apple notes appear as well, but in general the nose is pretty simple.

On the palate, the first thing that hits is how thin this whisky feels. Not surprising, given that it's only 40%, I suppose, but somewhat disappointing nonetheless. The flavor is exceedingly smooth, with more honey, cinnamon, fudgy vanilla, sherry fruits, and light almond. The finish is fairly short, with yet more honey, oak, dried fruits, ginger, and nutmeg.

Overall, Glenfiddich 15 is pretty enjoyable. Smooth, sweet, and with very little noticeable alcohol (again, though, 40% so that's not a huge surprise). The big problems I have are the short finish and the thin mouthfeel- both problems, I think, that could be solved by upping the strength somewhat. If this was bottled at, say, 50%, or even 45%, I think it would make a big difference.

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Victor commented

@BourbonNorth1, thanks for your review.

Yes, Glenfiddich is the largest volume malt producer.

Thin mouthfeel, indeed, for the standard 15 yo. Watery, actually. Give me the Glenfiddich 15 Distillery Edition, though, at 51.2% abv. There is an even shorter finish length on the last batch of DE than the standard 15, but otherwise it is stellar.

I will probably never buy a bottle of the standard Glenfiddich 15 yo, but I can't wait to see the Glenfiddich 15 DE reappear, so that I can get a second bottle of it.

9 years ago 0

BourbonNorth1 commented

Couldn't agree more, @Victor. The Distillery Edition sounds like exactly what this malt should have been all along- it really needs to be stronger to counteract how watery it feels in the mouth. I'll definitely look for a bottle of the DE when it's next available.

9 years ago 0

FMichael commented

I'm a fan of this single malt, and it'll always be on my shelf at home...It's not overly complex, but it does have good flavors that's already been mentioned in the review...There are other malts out there that I can pay more, but do not enjoy as much as this 15 yr Solera.

9 years ago 0

hunggar commented

Thanks for your review, @BourbonNorth1. Comfort food is a fitting description. Simple, easy to like, and hits the spot. But "gourmet" whisky it is not. Like FMichael, I think this is a nice one to have on hand. Cheap, enjoyable, and a good one to offer guests who aren't enthusiasts.

@Victor, The 'fiddich DE is everywhere in Taiwan. I read your review and I'm actually keen to try it. I like high abvs, but I also like decent finishes. Worth the $25 jump from the regular 15?

9 years ago 0

Victor commented

@hunggar, personally I would not buy a bottle of standard Glenfiddich 15. I would, however, jump at the chance to get another bottle of the Glenfiddich 15 Distillery Edition, even without a finish. The batch I had of 15 DE without a finish was purchased 3 years ago. I haven't seen it here since. It was a weird whisky. Absolutely delicious until it just suddenly disappeared in your mouth. It was an unnerving effect I have never seen in ANY other whisky. Still, it was so delicious that I would love to have another bottle of it.

Who knows whether this 15 DE in Taiwan is from that same batch from 3 years ago that I had? Probably so, but who can be sure of it? If you MUST have a finish then I think that it would surely disappoint you.

I have to think that any new batch of 15 DE would have to be somewhat different, because how can you recreate a disappearing finish? That makes me very hopeful if and when Glenfiddich introduces a new batch of 15 yo Distillery Edition.

9 years ago 0

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