Glenfiddich 15 Year Old ‘Solera Vat’

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This week on, I look towards Speyside and explore one of the most famous single malts in the world…

The story of Glenfiddich begins with William Grant, a local man who dreamed of owning his own distillery. Grant’s dream became a reality after he bought land near Dufftown and began building what would become Glenfiddich. New make spirit flowed from the stills for the first time on Christmas day of 1887 and today, 127 years later, the distillery remains under the ownership of Wm. Grant & Sons.

Glenfiddich has played no small part in shaping the whisky industry. The 1960s and ’70s saw the distillery set off in bold new directions, many of which we now accept as normal practice. Back in the days when the blend was king, Grant’s began to market Glenfiddich single malt as a premium product in its own right. Bottles were packaged in unique gift tubes and as interest in the product grew, a visitor centre was opened at the distillery, the first such place in Scotland.

The Glenfiddich 15 year old is dubbed ‘The Solera Vat’ in reference to a rather unique quirk in the production process. Spirit is matured in a variety of oak casks… some virgin oak, some ex-bourbon and some ex-sherry. When the barrels have reached 15 years of age, they are emptied into a Vat, made from Oregon pine, where they are left to marry together. When the malt is deemed ready, the Vat will be partially drained but crucially, never emptied. With each fresh bottling, a new batch of casks are added to the vat and so on. It is a system which takes inspiration from the Sherry Bodegas of Spain and helps to achieve a consistency of flavour from batch to batch.

Smell: Chocolate Orange, Vanilla, Honey and Winter Spices.

Taste: Orange again, Marzipan, Honey, a light touch of Sherry and Cinnamon.

Thoughts: At time of writing, the Glenfiddich 15 is available around £35 / £40. As one who normally likes their whisky big and bold, I’d maybe be looking for a little more heft than the 40% abv provides but there’s enough flavour in this dram for me to enjoy it. It definitely feels like a step up from their 12-year-old.


If the whisky reviewed in this article has caught your eye, you can buy it from Master of Malt here. Please be aware that as an affiliate I can be paid a small commission on any purchases you make after following links from my page. The whisky is also available from several other excellent retailers.


For more on Glenfiddich


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