Moving right along to our next Glenfiddich tasting – their 15-year-old expression. This one is a bit different than the 12-year-old in that it is solera aged. The distillery has a large wooden vat made from oak. It’s filled with matured whiskies of different ages, the youngest of which is 15 years old. Filled in 1998, the vat is emptied (for bottling) to the halfway mark, and is filled with more whisky. Because the vat is always at least half full, over time some interesting flavors may develop between the older whisky and the newly added whisky. The oldest whiskies in the vat date back to 1983. Solera aging is nothing new. It’s been used to age wine and spirits for years. Glenfiddich 15-year-old is matured in ex-sherry casks, ex-bourbon casks and new oak casks, so I expect to find a nice balance between vanilla, fruit and oak.
The nose here is sweet, with that Glenfiddich pear note still upfront, though here it’s less fresh green pear and more ripened pear. There are sweet vanilla and honey notes, along with slight brown fig. Taste-wise, I find this whisky sweeter than its younger 12-year-old sibling. I get some caramelized pear, soft vanilla and light baking spices (cinnamon and clove). Oak starts showing up on the medium length finish, eventually turning things a little dry.