Friday, August 31, 2007

Malt Mission 2007 #150

R.I.P., Michael Jackson, March 27, 1942-August 30, 2007.



Glenlivet 30 yo
Speyside Single Malt Whisky
55.2% abv

£65


Malt Mission 150, yeah. But it is hard to celebrate when just a few hours after yesterday's post, I learned of the death of Michael Jackson, journalist, Beer Hunter, and Whisky Companion to millions. I am sorry Diana, but for me, this is a more significant mourning. Why I have not read the news about the death of Michael Jackson in any mainstream British media yet is shocking. His books were bibles to many, without ever needing to dub them as such himself. This is a man who never stopped working despite being plagued with Parkinsons, on top of diabetes. Honour, humility, and dedication personified. Michael Jackson not only gave the tasting format to the world of whisky(via the world of beer), but he gave a lot of the vocabulary, and most importantly, the confidence to hacks like me to start writing down my own whisky impressions. So, all Malt Missions are indebted to him, but here are the ones that cite Michael Jackson outright.

Apparently, Michael died during his morning routine, so, in his honour, I shall continue with mine.


Under the title, The Glenlivets and Their Like, R.J.S. McDowall writes in his 1967 book "The Whiskies of Scotland", "No excuse is needed for giving these whiskies pride of place amongst the malts, for not only has Smith's Glenlivet been the Queen of whiskies for over a hundred years but it has given its name to a whole family of whiskies." There are, or were, 23 different distilleries that used -Glenlivet as a suffix to their name, (Strathisla-Glenlivet, Glen Grant-Glenlivet, Dufftown-Glenlivet, etc.) creating a mythical glen of enormous proportions, with some distilleries using the suffix that were located over 20 miles from the glen of the river Livet.

The glen's remote location made it ideal for illicit distilling and in 1820 there were said to be 200 illicit stills in operation in and around the river Livet. At great personal risk from getting knived or worse by his illicitly-distilling neighbours, George Smith took a distilling license in 1823... and bought a couple of guns. For real. Objectors to the licensing, a regulation was seen as a violation of their liberty to conduct a traditional way of life, caused the destruction of at least one nearby distillery(in Deeside), and arson is suspected in the destruction of a few others.

More info and other Glenlivets enjoyed on the Malt Mission can be found HERE. I know a lot of you have asked me about the new Glenlivet XXV... it's coming to the mission soon (Malt Mission #199), I promise.

This expression is an independent bottling from a sherry cask, double rarity! It is one of the new releases from the Single Malts of Scotland series from Speciality Drinks/The Whisky Exchange. In fact this is a whole new line within that range... They have been bottling under Single Malts of Scotland for over a year now, and as good as those first releases were, they have somehow managed to avoid disappointment with each subsequent release. This most recent range is by far the largest yet, with crazy breadth (Tobermory, Macduff, Rosebank, 27yo Bunnahabhain, and 40yo Balblair... to name a few). This 30 year old Glenlivet and a 40yo Balblair are part of the Anniversary Selection series, a clever format with nice round numbers clearly stated on simple but stylish black labels. Great gift idea. And the price!?!?! Absolute bOnKeRs bargain... unless it's nasty. Let's find out.

TASTING NOTES:

Complex sherry! Spice, ginger, fresh fruits, dried fruits, and all sorts of wood: wet, varnished, pencil shavings, paper, and more. Peach pastries. Chocolate and red fruit handsoap. The floral, aromatic nature of Glenlivet is bound up in leather and complex oakiness... real S&M Glenlivet.

Great mouthfeel, with immediate flavours of cola or root beer and cocoa. Smoke? or is that just the sherried effect? Upon swallowing, big sherried oak erupts in three (at least!) directions: dry spices, fresh fruit, and, well, more oak! Dried hides, raw ginger,

SUMMARY:

Scrumptious. A true rarity. An insane bargain.

In a different mood or mindset (or for a different person) the oak could be cloying; like Tim himself from Speciality Drinks writes, "like a stick of cinnamon", which can be nice finely grated over creme brullée, but it sure ain't something you wanna chew on.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for noting the lack of coverage in the British press. It's a shame that a man who almost single-handedly gave credibility to appreciating beer and whisky goes practically unnoticed in his passing. Here's to Michael and his unfailing pursuit of his passions.