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Glenfiddich 15 Year Old – The Solera Vat (2013)

Review: Glenfiddich 15 Year Old – The Solera Vat (2013)  91.5/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (AKA Arctic Wolf)
Posted August 10, 2013

The newest expression of the 15 Year Old Glenfiddich is a Single Malt Scotch Whisky aged in European (Spanish Sherry), American (American Bourbon) and New American (virgin) oak. The resulting whisky is then mellowed in a Solera Vat (which when introduced by Glenfiddich for the 15-year-old Single Malt, had no counterpart in the world of  Scotch whisky). The final blend is married in Portuguese Oak Tuns. The resulting whisky is (according to the Glenfiddich website) the first 15-year-old expression to become one of the top 10 best-selling Single Malt whiskies in the world.

On June, 2013 Glenfiddich Single Malt Scotch announced that $2.00 from every bottle sold of Glenfiddich 15 Year Old Solera Whisky in Canada would be donated to benefit Canadian Forces Members as part of their continued support for Wounded Warriors Canada. In honour of the ongoing partnership, Glenfiddich has changed its regular packaging throughout 2013 and beyond in recognition of the donation program to help raise awareness and funds for Wounded Warriors Canada.

Founded in 2006, Wounded Warriors Canada is a non-profit organization that helps Canadian Forces Members (be they full-time members or reservists) who have been wounded or injured in their service to Canada.

I arranged to receive a new sample of this expression of Glenfiddich such that through my published review, I could help bring awareness to Wounded Warriors Canada.

14272 GF 15 YO WW Tround MockIn the Bottle 5/5

I love the care and attention to detail which the Scottish display in the presentation of their Single Malt whiskies. The cardboard sleeve, which houses the 15-year-old Glenfiddich, is an attractive copper colour which shares the contours of the Glenfiddich whisky bottle. Inside the sleeved container is a nice black booklet which contains information regarding the core line up of the Glenfiddich Scotch Whiskies, and you cannot beat the program that donates $2.00 from every bottle sold in Canada to Wounded Warriors Canada.

The bottle and label are distinctive and stylish, and the final piece of the puzzle is the high quality corkage. A perfect presentation.

In The Glass 9/10

The liquid in the glass is an amber colour moving its way towards copper. Swirling the whisky inside, reveals a light oily sheen on the inside of the glass which releases a few fat legs lolling their way back down into the whisky. The initial nose reveals nice oaky scents of honey and butterscotch with some hints of dark fruit (raisin and dates) and mild notes of black licorice and cocoa. Some additional impressions of spruce and pine touch my nose with touches of heather and willow.

The resulting breezes above the glass are rich and full of toffee and oak hinting at sherry smoke and a light herbal character.

In the Mouth 55/60

The entry into the mouth brings all the elements of the nose to the palate. Honey and butterscotch seem to be melded into soft smoky flavours of dry fruit and oak. I sense more dark fruit in the flavour than I did four years ago, and perhaps a touch more sweetness as well. I taste dabs of vanilla, some underlying layers of cocoa and coffee and a persistent peppy spiciness of oak and tobacco. The combination of flavour impressions is very appealing, and very approachable.

In the Throat 13.5/15

Dry fruit and dark toffee linger in the throat finally being replaced by spicy dark tobacco and cocoa. I also seem to taste just a few hints of herbal peat trailing at the end. The whisky seems to bring new levels of complexity to the fore each time I taste it.

The Afterburn 9/10

The Glenfiddich 15 seems to have changed its character over the past three and a half years. I taste much more dark fruit in the flavour profile, and the alpine/juniper flavours which intrigued me then, seem almost absent now. I think perhaps the aging regimen has changed, as I can no longer find any reference to the Oregon Pine Pipe used to marry the whiskies in a solera vat. Instead, although the solera vat is mentioned, the whisky appears to be finished in Portuguese Oak Tuns.

However, my score for the whisky remains remarkably consistent (actually it has increased by a point). I guess this means I approve of the ongoing evolution of the Glenfiddich 15 Year Old.

You may read some of my other Whisky Reviews (click the link) if you wish to have some comparative reviews.

All in all this is one fine dram.


As always you may interpret the scores I provide as follows.

0-25     A spirit with a rating this low would actually kill you.
26-49   Depending upon your fortitude you might actually survive this.
50 -59  You are safe to drink this…but you shouldn’t.
60-69   Substandard swill which you may offer to people you do not want to see again.
70-74   Now we have a fair mixing rum or whisky.  Accept this but make sure it is mixed into a cocktail.
75-79   You may begin to serve this to friends, again probably still cocktail territory.
80-84   We begin to enjoy this spirit neat or on the rocks. (I will still primarily mix cocktails)
85-89   Excellent for sipping or for mixing!
90-94   Definitely a primary sipping spirit, in fact you may want to hoard this for yourself.
95-97.5 The Cream of the Crop
98+        I haven’t met this bottle yet…but I want to.

Very loosely we may put my scores into terms that you may be more familiar with on a Gold, Silver, and  Bronze medal  scale as follows:

70 – 79.5    Bronze Medal (Recommended only as a mixer)
80 – 89.5     Silver Medal (Recommended for sipping and or a high quality mixer)
90 – 95         Gold Medal (Highly recommended for sipping and for sublime cocktails.)
95.5+            Platinum Award (Highest Recommendation)

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