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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

'Fiddich Fever: Glenfiddich 15 year old Distillery Edition

Monday was the 14 year old Rich Oak.  Tuesday was the regular 15 year old (formerly known as the Solera Reserve).  Today: Glenfiddich 15 year old Distillery Edition.

The Distillery Edition (DE) used to be sold in The States, but has since been pulled from the shelves.  I'm going to assume it was due to supply issues and not for low sales.  And it still appears to be for sale in Canada and Europe.  Unlike the regular official 15, the DE never spent time in a solera vat, instead it's a combo of ex-bourbon and ex-sherry casks mixed and bottled at 51% ABV without chill filtration.

I've been looking forward to this one since I bought the sample two years ago.  So, whisky first, comments second.

Brand: Glenfiddich
Region: Speyside (Dufftown)
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Maturation: a mix of ex-bourbon and ex-sherry casks
Age: at least 15 years old
Alcohol by Volume: 51%
Colored? Maybe
Chillfiltered? No

The color is dark gold, though lighter than the regular 15.  So perhaps the industrial colorant was kept to a minimum?  The nose starts with a bundle of pine, peaches, pineapple, and pork (er, ham).  Then cardamom in clover honey.  Vanilla ice cream, limes, lots of toffee and caramel, and raisins.  The pears are in the waaaaay back.  It's very active and opens well with 10+ minutes in the glass.  The palate is grassy, fudgy, and toffee-y.  Then dried fruits in caramel.  The sherry notes grow with time.  Something almost peated but not, sort of like spicy roasted lawn.  It's never too big or out of control, but remains thick and substantial.  That dried fruit in caramel note is the biggest part of the finish.  Lots of chocolate and oloroso sherry too.

Green fresh herbs now show up in the nose.  Then toffee and more vanilla.  The palate is more sherried.  Leather, black pepper, black coffee, and honey.  The finish is drier, leaner, more grain than dried fruits.

Finally, an adult whisky from Glenfiddich.  Seriously, it's almost shocking to experience a Glenfiddich that can easily compete with other upper echelon Speyside/Highland malts.  It's good to know what the word-of-mouth buzz was about.  It's a bummer the stuff has become so scarce in the US.

It swims decently, probably the only 'Fiddich to do so, but I really recommend it neat because that's where its richness shines.  I'm not sure I even see much resemblance to its younger (or same aged) brethren.  Older Glenfiddichs can be good too, but they are all considerably watered down, so you'd probably have to go to some of the super fancy ones to find another with this richness.

I'm not saying this is 90+-point whisky (though it's close).  But it's a real whisky and it's good to know what Glenfiddich can do.  Now how about you bring this one back to us, William Grant & Sons?

(The LAWS guys don't fully agree, but Oliver Klimek does.  Oliver is right.)

Availability - Europe & Canada only (Boo.)
Pricing - If you can find an old bottle in the US it'll probably be $60-$70, getting one from Europe or Canada (with shipping) will run $75-$100
Rating - 88


  1. Good to know I'm not the only one who got a bit of peat off of this one.

    1. Definitely something peat-ish in there. Damn, you got a good price on this back in the day.

  2. Something I noticed (and Oliver seems to concur) is a black pepper note on the palate that is more like Highland Park than Glenfiddich. This is definitely an unusual whisky for the distillery.

    1. I wonder if that black pepper note is related to the spicy roasted lawn thing I found. It is an unusual whisky for them, but I wish they'd do more like it!

  3. Got a bottle of this from Bucharest Airport duty-free, and consumed it gladly during my vacation. The record indicates opening 7/3/2012 - finishing 7/14/2012, I must have liked well this 1L bottle!

    My brief notes were: "Strong but very nicely integrated sherry. Full taste, with the sweet honey and smooth, gentle profile of Glenfiddich. The high strength is very welcome. B+"

    There, I even said "smooth"!

    1. Sounds like you had SMOOTH vacation.

      Looks like this stuff is now in UK duty-free shops for 57GBP. That's almost $100, but at least it's a full liter.

    2. I paid the equivalent of $44 for it (in Romanian rabbit pelts, the local currency). But I'm sure the current one is twice as good!

    3. Oh man, how many rabbit pelts comes out to $100? Or are we getting into bear skins at that point?