If you’ve been around the single malt scotch market for any length of time, you probably had the same reaction to this label that I did. “Uhh… basically every single malt is aged in bourbon barrels.” So what’s so special about this particular bottle that they felt the need to slap it in large type on the label? Let’s not forget that “Reserve” means absolutely nothing.
At least the name Glenfiddich 15 “Solera” Reserve, one of my favorite Glenfiddichs, tells a story. (Let’s not talk about Glenfiddich 14 “Rich Oak”…)
A quick swing by the website reveals something that really ought to have been clearer on the label: The 14 year-old Glenfiddich (aged in ex-bourbon, of course) is finished in charred new American oak casks for a short period of time (I’m guessing less than a year). So really the key thing here is not the “Bourbon Barrel” which is par for the course. No, the key is the finish in virgin oak, something that I’m seeing pop up more frequently in single malt special editions these days. For what it’s worth, the Bourbon Barrel Reserve is a US exclusive release. You don’t see that often. Now that we have something to go on, let’s taste:
Nose: Round, sweet, cereal-forward. Toasted barley, oatmeal cookies, fresh chunk charcoal, and mild ripe banana. After a rest in the glass, vanilla and some mild tart tropical fruits (lime, kiwi).
Palate: Syrupy body. Nice balance of brown-sugar malty sweetness, mild oak, and fresh lively tongue burn. Well-structured, if simple.
Finish: Medium long. Warming, but a little shy. Fades slowly but only an additional nutty note (walnuts?).
With Water: A few drops of water bring out a new lemon-lime note but makes the palate seem thinner. Water not necessary here.
Overall: A tasty, accomplished dram that is miles ahead of Glenfiddich 12. This has far more oaky sweetness, more nuttiness, better balance, a longer finish, and almost none of that “paint thinner” youth that comes across in the 12. Well done. Worth the money at $45, but $55 is pushing it.
Is this one a newer version of the Glenfiddich 14 YO “Rich Oak”? If so, is it any different?
Please forget my previous comment, I just saw that you reviewed the Rich Oak, so I’ll compare both of your reviews myself!
The fiddich14 is great introduction to scotch for a bourbon lover. I agree with the Recommended mark.