Nick Brown wrote:Nice to see so many familiar names from the past
I agree, absolutely. The 15 straight from the solera vat is sublime - cool, rich, syruppy, toffee, fruity, chocolatey...
I've had a great many Glenfiddichs of all ages, and the 15 Solera vat is a class act. But there is a great deal of class in most of the 'Fiddichs I've had. The fruitiness - melons and pears - in the 30. The sweet chociolate in the 18. The smoke and grassiness of some of the really old vintages.
Brian Kinsman gave us a great opportunity this year at Spirit of Speyside to taste the raw ingredients of the 15 - that's a 15 from a sherry cask, from a refill cask and from a local wood if I remember correctly. They are decanted into the solera vat - a huge, huge tub, and left to infuse with the rest of the whisky there. The vat is never less than half full, so some of the whisky in there (and I know I have argued against articulating this...) has been in since the beginning. So we tried the ingredients, went off to the solera warehouse (minding the oystercatcher's nest) to take sips from a flask drawn straight from the vat. Then back to the Robbie Dhu centre to try 3 single cask whiskies that were over 30 years old to decide whether they were good enough to be blended into the 30yo. They were all good enough, but it was striking just how different they were.
Totally cool post and I completely agree with it (like most people here!): of the standard bottlings, the 15YO is definitely the winner for me. And, while I don't agree with everything that Jim Murray writes, I totally agree with his comments about the 15YO in his Whisky bible.
Last fall, I had the very fortunate experience to be invited to a small tasting (about a dozen people) that involved six different 1976 Glenfiddich single cask samples, hosted by none other than Peter Gordon. The tasting was for a cask buy for a liquor and wine store; they had bought two previous casks (a 1974 and a 1975) for each of the two previous years.
The six whiskies were amazingly different; definitely Glenfiddich, but very, very different. A couple of them didn't do much for me at all. Two of them were definitely good and had all of the characteristics of a good aged whisky, but were not exceptional.
The remaining two were really solid though. One was a bit "different' and I don't remember exactly what it tasted like - this was 7 months ago! - but definitely interesting enough to be bottled as a single cask whisky. However, it might be just a bit too "weird" for the average whisky drinker. The other cask - the one that the store picked - was absolutely awesome and I seriously considered buying it, though in the end I bucked up for a different bottle in the same price range that was just a bit more to my liking (a Tullibardine).
Like a lot of people, the first singlemalt that I tried was Special Reserve. I didn't mind it, but it really didn't do much to get me into Whisky (that took Lagavulin 16). I just "assumed' that Glenfiddich equaled mass produced whisky aimed at the lower part of the market. The single cask tasting really changed my opinion of this distillery: and now I recommend the 15YO to a lot of friends. The 15 YO Solera is a bottle that I keep readily in stock: it's highly approachable and a great "starter" whisky for friends new to single malts and yet has enough depth and complexity to satisfy the serious aficionado.
It's an excellent product and an excellent value as well - I hope that Glenfiddich keeps this gem exactly as it is - cheers!