Solera is an ageing system for Sherry (and other fortified wines), in which younger wines in upper rows of casks are used to top up casks of older wines stored below. Every time a batch is bottled, the wine is taken from the bottom row. Not everything though, usually up to 30% of the cask is bottled. After this, the casks in the bottom row are topped up with the wines from the casks in the row directly above, and that row is topped up with wines from the row directly above that, and so on. After a startup period this system gives wines of a consistent age and quality, even if one particular vintage is weaker than the others.
Color: Light copper gold.
Nose: Very malty, and immediately recognizable as a Glenfiddich. It has a lot of traits of the 12yo “Special Reserve” I reviewed earlier. Lots of vanilla. There is also a light Sherry influence. Waxy. But overall it’s quite flowery and light. When tried blind, a definite Lowlander, (which it is not). Likeable.
Taste: Creamy, and very malty. In the back there is a little bit of mint, which makes it fresh and lively. Ice cream, winegums and apples. It starts to break down late in the mouth, where it shows an added sour note. The finish is short. Where the nose was more floral, the taste is more fruity. Loveable.
I don’t know if it’s a step up from the 12yo “Special Reserve”, but it is most definitively a variation. And yes, I think it’s better, and it’s extremely drinkable. Again nothing wrong and again a perfect malt to get you into Single Malts. It’s well made. Even if it’s the only Single Malt at the hotel bar, I would still pick this over any other drink available. But when spoiled for choice, well, it’s a great malt to get you into Single Malts.