Glenfiddich – Deconstructing Solera Reserve
Glenfiddich Brand Ambassador Tracie Franklin invited us to Fort Lauderdale’s Stache Drinking Den for an evening celebrating, deconstructing and enjoying the Glenfiddich 15 Year Old Solera Reserve.
The event kicked off fabulously with a welcome cocktail – Bee’s Knees. This fruity and intense cocktail was mixed in an ice-filled shaker tin with Glenfiddich 12 year old scotch whisky, housemade honey syrup and peach bitters. Then, the drink was strained into a chilled coupe glass.
Glenfiddich employs a variation of the Solera system, more commonly used in the maturation of quality sherry. For its 15 year-old Glenfiddich, three different types of casks are married together in a wooden vat. It is constantly topped up to ensure the quality is maintained.
When the desired maturity has been reached, selected casks are emptied into a larger solera vat that still contains whisky from previous batches. As batches are drawn from the vat, they are married for a few months in a smaller cask and then bottled.
On our tasting tables, each seat had a line up of four tulip-shaped whiskey glasses. Each snifter held a different dram representing the Solera maturation process. Before tasting each serving, our exuberant host encouraged us to nose, first.
This was accomplished by inhaling one inch above the rim of the glass, which is tilted slightly towards the nose. Then, carefully drawing the air into your nose, and concentrating on the smells. We each volunteered to what individual aromas, or notes, we picked up on. This is totally subjective, of course, as we all have individual palates.
The first glass, the lightest in consistency and color, was aged for 15 years. Aged in European oak sherry casks and new oak casks, the whisky smelled of honey and tasted like spicy cinnamon.
Next, a 14 year old bourbon barrel reserve with an oaky aroma. The sweet dram had a sharp finish that heated the back of your throat.
A taste of a cask select followed which had layers of sweetness, spice and a hint of citrus. Finally, a nutty sherry-flavored whisky that was finished in aged Madeira wine casks.