What makes whisky so interesting, and at the same time daunting, is the sheer range of variations, flavors, brands and expressions gathered under its banner. Even if you have your daily glass as prescribed by any doctor worth the money, you can go a whole year without drinking the same drink twice. Not literally the same drink, of course – one would assume (hope, even) that you could go a lifetime without doing that, regardless of the frequency of your consumption. It follows, then, that you might go for months on end without revisiting the same distillery twice.
Then, one day, it dawns on you that you haven’t so much as glanced in the general direction of a certain distillery, and you feel that familiar tinge of excitement reserved for revisiting an old friend. That’s what happened to me just the other day. I was browsing my local pub’s whisky offering, trying to decide what sort of mood I was in, when I came across a very familiar name indeed: Glenfiddich. How I ever managed to forget it to the extent where I haven’t had it for nearly a year is beyond me, but I did. In fact, the last time I had Glenfiddich, so far as I can remember, must have been just before writing my review of their 12 year old expression – which was in April of last year!
As such, I felt obliged (and delighted) to opt for a dram of Glenfiddich 15, and of course I took down a couple of notes. The nose is nice and fruity; very sweet indeed. I had some difficulty in trying to put into words the initial sweetness, and the closest I could come with is a combination of a freshly opened bag of molasses sugar and juicy, succulent raisins. That initial sweetness is soon followed by a well-rounded fruitiness, in particular I’m getting ripe pears and lightly fried plantain with sprinkling of sugar. It’s a lovely nose, a definite step up from the 12 year old.
The palate initially provides more of an alcoholic kick than one might expect, but not in a bad way. Said kick mellows out quickly, however, and is followed by a quite earthy combination of oak, honey, a mild leatheriness (pretty sure I made that word up) and again some fruity sweetness; cooked pears and warm, mild banana, and some spice. Not as nice as the nose, in my opinion, but delightful nevertheless.
In summary, then, the 15 year old is an all-round improvement on the 12 year old expression and on the whole a lovely whisky in its segment.
Color: This may sound rather unflattering, but the first thing to come to mind was apple concentrate.
Nose: Lovely. Molasses sugar and juicy raisins, fruity (ripe pear, lightly fried and caramelized plantain).
Taste: Initial alcohol kick, oak, honey, slightly leathery, cooked pears, warm banana, mild spice.