Whisky Odyssey
Old-fashioned with a twist of the modern 

Does the solera still work for Glenfiddich 15?

Glenfiddich is, of the big three Scottish single malt giants, probably the most charming of brands. In recent years The Macallan has sold out their reputation and are now asking Elon Musky prices for stuff that is not on the same level as what you find in the bottle. The Glenlivet used to lack diversity in offerings, but they are actually making up for that with speed, considering their pretty nice entry level malts. We tasted their 200th anniversary bottle just last week. Glenfiddich always was and still is the Gentle Giant of single malt whisky. Frontrunner in the single malt category since forever, and consistent in their range.

Talking to my local retailer about the high-end bottles that he too sometimes sells to enthusiasts all around, he explained to me that favor means a great deal to him. Of course it is fantastic to sell a 30 years old of this or that brand, but those opportunities come only once or twice a year. It is actually the likes of good old Glenfiddich, blends, ports, wine and beer that pays the monthly bills of electricity and rent.

So, what are you drinking these days when you grab a bottle from the valley of the deer? Today we taste the Glenfiddich 15 years old, an expression that has been around for quite a while. Whiskybase is probably not entirely accurate on when the first 70 cl bottle hit the market. The oldest expression I find is a miniature bottled in 2001. Let’s roughly conclude the Solera Reserve, as it used to be called, is around for about 25 years. Now the name is “Our Solera Fifteen”.

Glenfiddich 15 years old – Our Solera Fifteen, bottled at 40 % abv

Makeup: A vatting of bourbon, new oak and sherry casks. What is a solera again? Not a typical whisky method actually.

General impressions: Gentle to sniff some aroma from the glass, and immediately you feel this Glenfiddich appears to be older than the stated 15 years. A whiff of old books and wood spices. But after a while the new oak gets very dominant. Pencil shavings and vanilla take over. Some slight fruity notes are underlying. Not bad for what I suspect is a rather big batch.

Upon the first sip you notice wood influences. With some whisky you can’t really pinpoint the age, but this Glenfiddich is not shy about exposing some decent maturing. That is good! It is more malty than I remember. The Solera used to be my favorite from Glenfiddich, but I am afraid it has all but deserted the distinct sherried character it used to have. Emptied all the sherry content in a solera system? That would be ironic. The current day expression is purer, if you will, but the lowest of all possible alcohol strengths for whisky does not do it any favors. The finish is nice and sweet and not without a little punch, but sadly a cardboard note lingers a  bit too long.

Conclusion: Still a great value for money bottle, and this bottle will be a hit when you take it to a poker night with friends, smoking big cigars and bluffing with a high card. But pour it in a tumbler, maybe even over ice. You will have a great night.

Score: 78 points

Disclaimer: sample kindly provided for free at Slijterij Le Chateau in Hedel, NL.

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