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Hi, this is one of our (almost) daily tastings. Santé!

May 22, 2017


Glenlivet ad lib

It was about time we tasted more Glenlivet. We’ll try to have quite a bunch, from young youngsters to super-old legends. But we may need to split this into two parts…

Glenlivet 12 yo ‘First Fill’ (40%, OB, +/-2017)

Glenlivet 12 yo ‘First Fill’ (40%, OB, +/-2017) Three stars This baby’s said to be a bottling that’s exclusive to France (although as usual, you’ll find it elsewhere), and it was fully matured in first fill bourbon barrels. It’s a new livery. Colour: straw. Nose: it’s a rather light one, with some overripe apples, whiffs of yellow flowers, a touch of honey, a touch of vanilla, and a wee feeling of ginger and nutmeg, possibly from the oak. Well, certainly from the oak. It’s all approachable and smooth. More warm butter after a few minutes. Mouth: young and rounded, with pears and again a little nutmeg, as well as coconut and vanilla from the casks. It’s all rather light, but not quite ‘empty’. Some ripe kiwis, and ripe bananas as well. Finish: rather short but clean and fruity. Nice balance. Comments: an easy dram with just a little more oak than usual. Too good points above the Founder’s Reserve in my book. SGP:441 - 80 points.

Shall we play?...

Glenlivet 12 yo (45.7%, OB, Baretto, Italy, +/-1972)

Glenlivet 12 yo (45.7%, OB, Baretto, Italy, +/-1972) Five stars This rare ‘unblended’ old bottle claims it’s ‘the only genuine Glenlivet’ on the label. It’s form that era when many other Speysiders were using the suffix ‘-Glenlivet’. Colour: pale gold. Nose: as expected, this is a fatter and richer style, more phenolic and bready at the same time, with these metallic notes that we enjoy so much (grandpa’s old toolbox), as well as a very dry fruitiness. I’m thinking rhubarb, or plantains… There’s also a rooty side, with some celeriac and perhaps a little manioc (as far as I can remember). The whole is pretty perfect. Mouth: an amazing peppery, metallic, lemony and rooty arrival. A feeling of smoked apples – should you manage to smoke apples – and then bergamots and bitter oranges. There were also ‘unblended’ Glenlivets at 40 and 43% but this one’s clearly superior. Perfect touches of mint and lemongrass coming out after a few minutes, as well as a clearer peatiness. Finish: long, rich, superbly sooty, lemony, and mineral. Comments: these ones were rather extraordinary. SGP:552 - 90 points.

I’ve got an idea…

Glenlivet 15 yo (45.7%, OB, Baretto, Italy, +/-1972)

Glenlivet 15 yo (45.7%, OB, Baretto, Italy, +/-1972) Five stars Colour: pale gold. Nose: one further step towards depth and phenolness. It also seems that there was more sherry in this one, since I’m finding quite a lot of cigars and walnuts, then bitter oranges. A few used matches – all great – and some coal, that old toolbox again, and certainly fewer fruits than in the old 12. Impeccably dry. Mouth: amazingly big, assertive, restless, and even a little coastal. Current Glenlivets got much smoother and easier. This one’s also clearly peated, sooty, there’s a little mustard, more cigars, more walnuts, and some waxy/salty lemons. A wee touch of cardboard, perhaps, which most certainly comes from all those years spent in the bottle, while the 12 had remained brighter. Now the whole remains extraordinary. Finish: long, salty, with grapefruits and some salt, plus a sooty aftertaste. Comments: I won’t go above the 12 because of the little touches of cardboard, but otherwise that would have been 91 or 92. Magnificent whiskies, those old Glenlivets, and the 20 in the same series was quite something as well. SGP:462 - 90 points.

Let’s keep following our logic…

Glenlivet 15 yo (80°proof, Gordon & MacPhail, +/-1970)

Glenlivet 15 yo (80°proof, Gordon & MacPhail, +/-1970) Four stars and a half Colour: full gold. Nose: this one has even more sherry, and I guess we could almost call it a sherry monster. Gunpowder and walnuts, black truffles, cigars, grounded coffee beans, beef stock, earth, Maggi… You know the song, don’t you. Perfect. Mouth: fatter then the OB, almost creamy, with more Seville oranges and even ginger, then a perfect citrusy development (tangerines, blood oranges), and rather less dry sherriness than on the nose. It’s a very rich old Glenlivet, having said that, and it would become spicier by the second. Nutmeg, cinnamon mints, coriander… Finish: rather long, with more pepper. Lemon-pepper-honey. Comments: it hasn’t got the peat that was to be found in the old OBs, but it is another stunning old Glenlivet. SGP:551 - 88 points.

Perhaps another OB, of similar age?

Glenlivet 14 yo ‘Glassachoil’ (59.3%, OB, Single Cask Edition, cask #634, 2016)

Glenlivet 14 yo ‘Glassachoil’ (59.3%, OB, Single Cask Edition, cask #634, 2016) Three stars This baby was bottled in October last year. Colour: pale gold. Nose: very sharp, very grassy. Green apples (granny smith), some damp chalk, gooseberries, some vanilla, hints of raisins… This shy (so far) baby may well need water. With water: a little porridge, muesli, oak juice… It’s all quite narrow. Mouth (neat): very strong of course, fruity and with many bonbons. Pears, pineapples… Feels very young and, I have to say, a little raw. With water: easier, sweeter, with good fruits, and these sweets as well yet again. More pineapples, perhaps bananas, and marshmallows. Finish: medium, fruity, rather simple. Comments: good distillate matured in a very good cask, and so a very good ‘technical’ whisky, but I think it’s lacking a little magic. Or, as they say, idiosyncrasies. SGP:641 - 81 points.

We’ll have more (older) Glenlivet very soon…

(Angus, Carsten, thank you)

More tasting notes Check the index of all Glenlivet I've tasted so far







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