|Old gold with a hint of amber|
I have a complex relationship with Glenfiddich, but I recently had several experiences that helped me understand and appreciate the beauty and iconic nature of Glenfiddich's floral fruity Speyside flavor profile. The first was at Whisky Live NY 2012 when Glenfiddich brand ambassador David Allardice poured me a dram of the 15 Solera and very congenially explained the flavor profile to me (and let me take a 50ml sample used in this review). The second, more convincing, happened when I was trying to figure out what the "yellow" whisky was in the Dramming Scotch blind tasting. I detected an aroma that I described as "green pear, green apple, banana, green melon, butter, mineral, honey, honeysuckle". I tasted a number of options including: Ben Nevis 1974/2000 56.4%, Glen Elgin 1975/2011 46.8% and a Dailuaine 39 1971/2010 46.6%. Those are some pretty special and august drams.
I decided: "This (the yellow sample - which ended up being a 1966 Loch Lomond) is most likely a 35 year old Glen Elgin at 45%. But, wait, the Glen Elgin 1975 in my glass is a bit more honeyed, and a bit less mineral. Mineral - that sounds like Glenfiddich. Vs. Glenfiddich 15 Solera 40%: similar green pear, green apple, honey and honeysuckle and mineral, but more mellow and less phenolic and dynamic. Tasting the Yellow one, the Glenfiddich 15 Solera, the Glen Elgin 1975/2011 Malts of Scotland "Angel's Choice", and the Dailuaine 1971/2010 Perfect Dram head to head is a dizzying experience. They are all so close. Green pear, honeydew melon, butter, honeysuckle and some mineral in each and every one."
Shopper's Vineyard, $39.99 at K&L). If you love this particular classic flavor profile, Glenfiddich 15 Solera is the most cost effective way to get it.
Glenfiddich 15 Solera 40%abvColor: old gold with a hint of light amber
Nose: green pear, honeysuckle or cherry blossom, honeydew melon, chalk mineral, Jucyfruit gum. A wonderfully rich characteristically Spey aroma profile.
Entry is rich and sweet after extended air with honeyed fruits and green melon, green pear, sweet butter and a profuse floral filigree. Meadow grass with wildflowers. Mid-palate expansion brings spirit and a light breezy malt and a jazzy medley of juicyfruit flavors. The mouth feel is light and a bit thin - I suspect chill filtering. The turn to the finish is marked by a lovely lean and drying sensation and marked by the hand off from the sweet malt fruity and floral to the mineral and wood end of the spectrum. Finish is medium long with gentle mineral notes, light oak tannins and a hint of oak. You're left with a clean slightly sweet malty fruity glow, as if you had just finished chewing juicyfruit gum.
This is leaps and bounds ahead of the Glenfiddich 12 expression for a pretty modest additional outlay of funds. Glenfiddich 15 Solera gets within shouting distance of very high end single malt for a bargain price.