Glenfiddich 15 Year Old Solera Reserve

Glenfiddich’s 15 year old variety (or expression, as whiskey makers call it) comes in a niceBottle.PNG looking reddish brown tube with a cream colored band around the bottom, standing out from the cooler toned green and newer blue of it’s 12 and 14 year old little brothers. Inside, a clear bottle holds a deep, rich brown liquor, that turns reddish when viewed in front of a dark background, and when held up to a light doesn’t yield to yellowness like so many other whiskeys.

Pulling out its cork, Glenfiddich’s Solera Reserve lets out a chorus of fruity odors, including grapes and raisins, with a strong presence of pear. It smells so good that, to tell the truth, I didn’t pour a glass for many minutes, and instead just kept bringing the bottle back to my nose to smell an smell again.

On first opening, it was very very smooth, but didn’t have much flavor. There was a little bit of grain taste, but overall it was very mellow. I added a few drops of water, but that didn’t really bring out any new flavors. After several minutes new smells developed though; bringing my glass up for a sip, I’d find my nose filled with the smell of red berries, and so a new round of sniffing began.

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Glenfiddich’s familiar Stag

Whiskey does change a bit after it’s been exposed to air though, so on the second day I had another glass. The flavor was stronger, more grain, and a flavor that I associate with any drink coming from Glenfiddich. The finish had developed into a longlasting almost nutty taste, and if I let the whiskey sit on the back of my tongue I’d pick up the flavor of ethanol. Day two also came with gentle burn on the tongue and lower throat that was just present enough to enjoyed, but nowhere near strong enough to be unpleasant.

The 15 Year Old Solera Reserve is another satisfying single malt from Glenfiddich, and will certainly be a bottle I reach for when I just want to sit down with drink that I intend to enjoy for its own sake.

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An explanation of the Solera Vat aging process
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The Macallan 12 Year Old

The Macallan comes in packaging that seems to be aimed at the task of being difficult to reproduce. The bottle is boxed in a foiled carton that is a distinct dark, purplish red. Inside, the bottle its self is not quite round, but is more and more ovoid closer to the top (this feels odd in the hand at first, but once you’re used to it, it’s quite comfortable.) The makers of the Macallan even

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put a seal on the foil over the cork, a holographic sticker like you’d see on officially licensed sportswear or a Microsoft software disk.

In the bottle, The Macallan is distinctly dark brown, and in the glass it’s a medium dark amber. There’s not much to the scent of it when uncorked, and pouring it into a glass doesn’t change that much. It smells not like something aged in casks, but like something that was distilled and bottled right away. I’m not one to spend a lot of time nosing, but even I found my self with my schnoz deep in a tumbler, inhaling slowly and deeply trying to find the scent, like a hound dog being set to the chase.

On first taste, there wasn’t much to find either. There was the flavor of alcohol, and a very subtle taste that was so faint I hesitate to say that I think it’s the wood from a cask. It is very smooth, giving some tingling on the lips, the edges of the tongue, and the top of the throat, with hints of a little burning. But even smoothness doesn’t seem like a much; it just helps to reinforce the feeling that I get that this is less a spirit and more a ghost, with not a lot of substance where you look to find it.

Having finished a glass with not much of an impression, I poured another and dropped an ice sphere in. The cold enhanced the odor and flavor a little, making it smell and taste a bit like whiskey, but not really bringing it to life. It also wasn’t as smooth cold, being chilled ads a little bite, but nothing excessive.

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As my ice melted, more flavors started to come out. It became slightly sweet, with a fruity scent and flavor. It developed a smokey taste as well, but in the end still remained very mild. After two glasses, I found my self a quite a bit more intoxicated than I expected to be.

 

There was no buzz and very little sensation of intoxication in the head, but my body became very relaxed, and as I continued to digest the alcohol began to feel heavy and slack. I do prefer to feel alcohol as a relaxation of muscles rather than an a feeling of drunkenness in the brain, but this whiskey is quite strong, so I think in the future I’ll be keeping it down to one glass to keep from going limp.

Now, I’ve never been one to water whiskey. It seems a little odd to me to put H₂O directly into a spirit, since I usually have a glass of it on hand to sip side by side, to keep hydrated and cleanse my palate. But, since The Macallan seemed to take more to being watered than being chilled, the next day I poured another glass and added a few drops of water directly.

Label.pngWith water, The Macallan’s aroma bloomed, once again becoming sweet and fruity. It tasted sweet too, even sweeter than with ice, but didn’t taste as fruity as before. It took on the maply taste of wood sugar, and while with ice it had tasted smokey, with water tasted almost earthy. After a few minutes, the water also brought out a nutty flavor, and a little later some toastiness as well. Again as with ice, it wasn’t as smooth with water added, but it won’t give you cause to complain.

As someone that enjoys strong, bold flavors, The Macallan’s 12 Year Old single malt was at first a little underwhelming, being as it is on the subtle, meeker side of the flavor spectrum. But, having spent time and made an effort to find the flavors hidden away inside of it, I’ve found I quite enjoy it. Sometimes, having to work for something makes it that much more satisfying.

 

Glenfiddich Bourbon Barrel Reserve

TubeI started this blog to share my experiences trying out new kinds of liquor. I wanted to make sure I was trying new things, and really get the most out of them by really paying attention to their scents and flavors. The accountability needed to write about what I drink is something I’m using to make sure I do that. Every once in a while though, something comes along that grabs one’s attention all on its own, and doesn’t need any special encouragement.

I am a fan of Glenfiddich, I typically drink the 12 year old variety, but I was excited to see something new on the shelf in the scotch section. In a blue tube with it’s other siblings is a 14 year old single malt that Glenfiddich calls their Bourbon Barrel Reserve. They say its their take on American whiskey, and it’s available only in the U.S., which is a loss for scotch fans everywhere else.

If I were to describe this whiskey in one word, it would be delicious. And that’s not “delicious” with an asterisk next to it, to be disclaimed by saying that I mean for something that contains alcohol. This stuff tastes plain damn good. It’s dry, smooth, and savory.

I try to be objective through analysis when I write about spirits, but the truth is I’m not going to try here. Too much analysis can make it harder to just enjoy something for its self. Like having a someone explain a joke to you, being told what to expect from this drink in cork sniffing terms wouldn’t add anything to your experience, and might take away from it. Some times, you need to find out for your self why and how something is good, and this is one of those times.

So, I’ll say only this: You should drink Glenfiddich Bourbon Barrel Reserve. If you’ve seen it in the store and were on the fence, get off and buy some. If you haven’t heard of it and this is all news to you, don’t think too much. Go out and find a bottle at your nearest purveyor of fine spirits. I’ll vouch that you won’t regret it.

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