Glenfiddich 15 Years Old Solera (Official Bottling)

40% ABV, £30-35 for 70cl

Score: 86/100

What they say:

Our 15 Year Old expression is a truly special single malt that exemplifies our family’s tradition of innovation. Its warm, spicy flavours are created using a technique pioneered by our fourth Malt Master, David Stewart, and continued to this day.

Aged in European, American, and New American oak to carefully release the virgin cask flavours, the whisky is then mellowed in our unique Solera vat before being married in Portuguese oak tuns.

Bursting with flavour, the first 15 Year Old to enter the top ten best selling single malts in the world is a personal favourite of many of us here at the Distillery, and once you’ve tried it, it’s easy to see why.

IWSC_gold_outstanding.pngGold Outstanding Medal 2012: International Wine and Spirit Competition (IWSC)
 2013 IPC silverSilver Medal 2013: International Spirits Challenge (ISC)

What I say:

Continuing our Glenfiddich mini-vertical we move onto the 15 Year Old Solera (Reserve). With Glenfiddich’s being possibly unique within the whisky field, the Solera system is more commonly used to age/mature wine, beer, brandy and vinegar. Sherry is probably one of the better known Solera system matured beverages in the UK with Madeira, Port and Brandy also less commonly reported. The Solera system usually consists of a serious of vats, vessels or casks representing a series of vintages of maturation, new product is placed in the first and then moved on a vessel each year until the final matured product is removed from the final one. None of the vessels however are completely emptied and so the average age of maturation within each vessel slowly accumulates. At Glenfiddich the use of a vatting vessel (or Solera tun) was pioneered by their past Malt-Master David Stewart. The Solera Tun is never truly emptied and so some of the flavours of the final product have been maturing in the vat since its inception. David Stewart is emulating this process today by using the Tun 1401 marrying vat at The Balvenie and producing batches of whisky from mixes of individual casks of various ages (as opposed to the continuous process he started at Glenfiddich). The results are not too dissimilar, however the scale of Glenfiddich’s output means that their “15” year old is a hell of a lot cheaper and more available than The Balvenie Tun 1401 batches.

Colour:

Orange gold

Nose:

Sweet pears, mandarin oranges, cake or cookie dough, slightly herbal (rosemary?) and flowery (rose petal/rose water) aromas and hints of acetone (nail polish) indicative of ‘very’ aged whisky

Taste:

Smooth and mellow on the palate this is lighter and more vaporous than the Glenfiddich 12 Year Old, redolent with mandarins and clementines, creamy and with hints of spicy ginger and cinnamon until turning eventually a little waxy

Finish:

The finish is quite long and very sweet with a honey flavour that almost becomes like icing sugar

Would I buy it again:

Absolutely, I didn’t want to pre-empt our review of the 18 Year Old next but I suspect the 15 Year Old Solera will take some beating. I expect this will turn out to be the best (and our favourite) of the bunch. I already have a hearty love for the Glenfiddich 14 Year Old Rich Oak expression and this one ticks all the boxes and then more. I would repeat my comments above about this being almost as good as the Tun1401 expressions but a lot less expensive. This definitely goes onto my whisky shelf as another of those standard/stable distillery expressions, available in most supermarkets, that is really really fantastic whisky. I feel a little spoilt drinking it.