As there are so many older and relatively obscure whiskies on my list of potential reviews for January, I thought I’d begin with a more recognizable name: Glenfiddich. However, this is not, alas, one of their regular releases in the US. It used to be but was pulled a few years ago. It can still be found outside the US and at duty-free stores. It is a vatting of whisky matured in bourbon and sherry casks (in what proportion, I do not know) and is, unusually for Glenfiddich, bottled at the higher strength of 51%. My sample came from Michael K.’s bottle (you can read his review here).
Glenfiddich 15, Distillery Edition (51%; from a sample received in a swap)
Nose: A mix of orchard fruit (apples, pears) with rich aromas of pastry crust and vanilla. Gets sweeter as it goes, with honey and golden raisins, but also gets a touch grassy. With more time the fruit gets a bit musky (overripe pear, some citrus) and there’s a mild pepperiness too. A few drops of water make the fruit even more intense.
Palate: Bright and fruity as promised by the nose but those warmer bakery notes aren’t here. The mouthfeel is nice but the flavours are a little thin. On the second sip there’s more acid, more of the pepper. With a lot of time the citrus comes out to the front but so does that grassy/metallic note that showed up on the nose. Water brings out more of the fruit and pushes the grassy/metallic note back.
Finish: Medium. No new development: the citrus (lime) and pepper fade out together. More intense here too with water.
Comments: This is pretty much what you might expect the 12 yo to be at a higher strength. That is to say, quintessential Speyside malt of its type. It’s not particularly distinguished neat (well, that’s true for the palate and finish anyway: I really liked the nose) but water knits everything together really well. Michael, however, much preferred it neat.
Rating: 85 points.