Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Malt Mission 2007 #28

Glenfiddich 15 Solera Tasting notesGlenfiddich 15yo, Solera Reserve
Single Malt Scotch Whisky

40% abv

£30
$60.15(CAD)*

$62.00(USD)

Yes, yes, Glenfiddich has a whole lot of 'reserves'... Special, Ancient, Caoran, Havana... So what is a solera anyways? It has to do with the vatting process. For this whisky, Glenfiddich borrows a tradition usually used for Madeira, Sherry, even Balsamic vinegar (but actually used by a few distilleries and Loch Fyne Whiskies for their 'living cask') to create a degree of consistency and sharing of flavours over time. More on solera here.

Quick history tidbits that I find quite cool:
-William Grant used to work at Mortlach, just up the road from the site where he eventually opened his own distillery, commencing distillation on the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria, Christmas Day 1887
-The adjacent lot came up for sale and fearing he may have to share his precious water source, Grant bought up the land and built a new distillery there in 1892, Balvenie.
-Survived the Pattison's crash by starting his own blend("Standfast", today called Grant's Family Reserve), looking for export opportunties overseas, and becoming his own supplier to retailers.
-Introduced the triangular bottle in 1957
-Opened the first visitor's centre to invite people witness the whisky making process. (Ironically, I have heard many say it is now one of the shittiest tours in the business... but the Balvenie tour is a different story)

Glenfiddich is actually quite an impressive machine of a company. They have more stills that any other distillery, they are still direct-fired (by gas), they have the longest serving master distiller around today (David Stewart), they have their own cooperage and bottling plant on site, they have the oldest whisky on the market (1937), and they have won more awards and accolades that any other company.

Yes, they are seen as the McDonalds (not the clan, the clown) of the malt whisky world. Although it is true that you can find a bottle in almost every drinking establishment in every country(worldwide Glenfiddich roughly doubles sales of its nearest competitor) the notion that it is just mass produced pish is quite unfair to the quality of their bottlings. And besides, they were the first whisky to be marketed to the world as a 'single malt'... it's not like McDonalds invented the hamburger.

And the brand ambassadors even have blog.

TASTING NOTES:

Toasted oak, melon, honey. Smell of the inside of a box of chocolate-covered almonds kids sell for charity or whatever. Green grapes, kiwi. Oak again. Am I smelling peat?

Vanilla sweetness, cream and jam. Lightly biting. Leaves a waxy texture. New wood, or bourbony spice. Has the typical mustiness I find in Glenfiddich. Faint peat again beautifully balanced with spice, honey and vanilla sweetness, and oak. Drying finish that leaves a sweet impression of boiled oats with dates.. hot dates with sexy teenagers.

SUMMARY:

Mixed feelings, I suppose.
In my initial tasting I wrote "Needs a glass of water or a pint or something to accompany it. It is that drying. As a result the lingering finish is not that pleasant, rather puckering in the roof of the mouth and cheeks. Might go well with cigarettes or cigars. I dunno."
Upon, revisiting the dram at night, the 'rough' aspects are more appreciated, and actually quite exhilarating. It is a hearty dram but no dram is for every occasion, and certainly not for everyone.

Disagree? Comment.

Maybe I have an off bottle? Well, maybe Grants wants to send me another!?

* LCBO seems to have a low price on this one.

Malt Mission #26
Malt Mission #27
Malt Mission #29
Malt Mission #30

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2 comments:

jason said...

ironically, i tasted this at the brandy library saturday tasting (which i will take you to if you ever get your silly ass to nyc). i found similar notes--in particular the vanilla sweetness, shy peat, 'glenfiddich mustiness'--and what you refered to as waxy feel i attributed more like whisky flavored olive oil.

we also tasted longmorn which i felt was far superior. but i digress.

Sam Simmons said...

Thanks for sharing tasting impressions.
Yes, Longmorn 15 is stellar.
A shame I dont have one on my shelf right now cuz it would really fit in well with the 15year olds we're having this week. MaltManMike might help me out on this though.
Guest tastings are encouraged as I wont be able to keep this Malt Mission going forever... ?