A closer look at the Glenfiddich 15 Year Old Distillery Edition

10 February 2014

By Ian Millar, Global Brand Ambassador

As they’re the same age, I often get asked what are the differences between our 15 Year Old Distillery Edition and our 15 Year Old Solera. It’s quite hard to explain on paper and I’d highly recommend simply tasting it for yourself. Still, this might be a good opportunity to tell you a bit more about this wonderful expression of Glenfiddich.

Two things set our Distillery Edition apart from the rest of the Glenfiddich range. Firstly, it’s stronger – 51%ABV in fact. Secondly, it’s non chill filtered. Both of these differences have a remarkable effect on the flavour of the whisky. Let’s take a closer look…

Bottled at 51%ABV

Our Distillery Edition is bottled at 51% ABV (alcohol by volume), compared to the 40% ABV most whiskies are bottled at, which changes the flavour profile quite a bit. Proceed with caution! If it’s your first time drinking a whisky at this strength, you may find it packs quite a punch. 

If you find it’s a little strong, add a drop or two of water to take the edge off. Just a drop at a time – you can always add another drop until you find the “sweet spot”, but you can’t take the water back out! 

Some whisky enthusiasts love the high ABV because it means that flavours are more intense. Look out for freshly ground black pepper, sweet vanilla & rich cream.

Non chill filtered

Most distilleries use chill filtration to remove residue in the whisky when it is drawn out of the cask and before bottling. Quite simply, whisky is chilled and passed through a very fine filter – this makes the liquid appear clearer and reduces whisky’s ability to cloud when you add water to it – purely aesthetic. When we chill filter a whisky, we nose and taste it before and after to ensure the flavour profile remains the same.

But when we got together to talk about releasing a new expression in 2011, we decided to create our Distillery Edition to give our enthusiasts something a little different to try: a single malt that's as close to the whisky you'd get at our Distillery if you drew it from the cask yourself. 

So when you add a drop or two of water, don’t worry that the liquid goes a little cloudy – that’s all part of the joy of a non-chill filtered whisky!

15 Year Old Solera vs 15 Year Old Distillery Edition

When people ask me what the difference is between these extraordinary expressions, I always explain that our Distillery Edition is bottled at  51% ABV and non chill filtered, making it unusual compared to the rest of our collection. 

But the thing that really sets the two whiskies apart is the Solera process. Our 15 Year Old Solera is allowed to rest in our special Solera Vat, giving it a softer, sweeter flavour profile (learn more about our unique Solera Process here). Because of the way it’s made, our Distillery Edition is spicier and stronger. I can’t say either is better than the other, because I simply love both.

For a taste of what to expect, watch our Malt Master guide you through this expression in a Malt Master Class.

And if you do give it a try, drop me a line on twitter and let me know what you think.

Here’s to trying something new, sláinte!