Showing posts with label glenlivet. Show all posts
Showing posts with label glenlivet. Show all posts

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Malt Mission 2007 #199

Glenlivet XXV (25yo)
Single Malt Scotch Whisky
43% abv


The new jewel in the Glenlivet range, this 25 year old was introduced over this past year with the determined aim to help push Glenlivet into the #1 spot in the world of premium Scotch whiskies... and to blow drinkers' socks off, flavour-wise.
This will become a permanent fixture in the Glenlivet range.

Some have complained about the packaging: folks (especially retailers) have taken issue the weight of the box and others have asked whether or not is is really necessary to use stone and wood to transport malt whisky, but the accompanying booklet is informative, intimate, and generally interesting. Is it what's inside that counts... ?

This is a bottling of whiskies filled to cask in 1980 that spent the last 2 years of their lives maturing in ex-Oloroso sherry casks. Neil Macdonald, told me, "I was originally inspired by a Berry Bros 1975 bottling of The Glenlivet which was a real sherried dream and it was clear that this style could work well with the Glenlivet." Without a doubt, 25 full years of Oloroso maturation would have killed the signature nutty, floral and honeyed notes of The Glenlivet. The secondary maturation adds (strong) overtones without sacrificing or harming the core malt. I will taste it today for the mission, but it must be said that I have dipped into this a few times already... and loved every second of if. Delicious. I have shared milliliters with other whisky lovers and everyone has been left singing its praises, if not speechless.

All Glenlivets had on the mission can be found HERE. This whisky was tasted with visiting whisky-loving Finnish friend TS. His notes appear in quotes.


Sweet and jammy with lots of depth. Very oak influenced. Chocolate covered nuts and raisins with incredible indications of age in the background. "You can smell that it's old. It's so big." Damp, mysterious basement that a child is both afraid of and determined to explore.

First dry, grippy and oaky then opens up to apples, cinnamon, vanilla and toffee. "Not too big in the mouth but a lots of flavour, Glenlivet style. Very smooth." Toffee, mint, orange marmalade, jam. Absolutely sumptuous and smooth. Long, gentle, silky finish with lingering fudge, sweet tobacco, and oak.


Not a morning malt. This beauty is for evening comforts. Tommi even thought it would be nice in the afternoon because it is so easy and pleasant. The tea-leaf element would make me agree with him. It is even energetic, not at all tired by 25 years in oak. But this is a slow conversation whisky... best suited for conversations of silence. "This is one of those whiskies where the taste of alchohol is in the background and all the other flavours are laid on top. It just continues and continues." The 43% abv is a good choice, the impact is so large that it really doesn't need a higher abv%. And while it takes water well, it certainly doesn't need it. Wonderful craftsmanship for the new pinnacle of the Glenlivet range.

Malt Mission #196
Malt Mission #197
Malt Mission #198
Malt Mission #200

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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


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.


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,


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.

Malt Mission #146
Malt Mission #147
Malt Mission #148
Malt Mission #149

Malt Mission HOME

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Malt Mission 2007 #118

Glenlivet 12 yo
Speyside Single Malt Whisky
40% abv
$40 (USD)

Now available in an odd new package/box from some retailers, Glenlivet 12 is to many people THE quintessential Speyside malt whisky. They have upgraded the packaging (and pricing) on their 21 year old as well. Not much more to say than that. I am happy to finally tick this classic off the list in this Malt Mission, and it's about time!

They have just released a 25 year old (Glenlivet XXV) to become a permanent release in the Glenlivet range. I haven't had a chance to try it yet, but I hope Neil Macdonald and Chivas Brothers deem me lucky enough to get a drop of this stuff to try this as a part of the Malt Mission...

More distillery information and other Glenlivets tasted as a part of the mission can be found HERE.


Light and perfumed. Quite complex in spite the light impressions. Apples. Breakfast cereals. Incredibly appetizing.

Heartier in the mouth, full oak flavours and some gentle spice. Again, complex but in no rush to give away its secrets. Marzipan and tiramisu. This balance of oak and spice sits comfortably for minutes, gently drying late in the game.


A favourite the world over and quite easy to see why. As dangerous as this might be to say, I think this is a morning dram! Light and refreshing, even minty. Might be confused as bitterness to a newbie, so not a first-timers tipple. Has a real pick-me-up quality with great oak characteristics, even if the malt is slightly hidden by the spice. Plays it a bit safe, but is a real charmer.

Malt Mission #116
Malt Mission #117
Malt Mission #119
Malt Mission #120

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Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Malt Mission 2007 #52

Glenlivet 18yo
Single Malt Whisky
43% abv


No real theme to this week, but I will be trying two well-known 18 year olds back-to-back today and tomorrow and then just see where the week takes me.

Glenlivet is the 5th biggest selling malt in the UK and 4th in the world. The water source is Josie's Well, mineral rich water that is therefore not as soft as the water sources of most distilleries. This is the second Glenlivet to be tasted in this malt mission, so if you want any more distillery info see Malt Mission #27, use a link to the left, or use your friend Google.


I usually don't note colour, but for some reason I cannot help but note the vibrance of this one, it just seems to shimmer copper. It just looks different. Hard to explain. Not just the colour itself, but the way it refracts light is very attractive to the eye and somehow different than most whiskies. I will test this in subsequent days. If I am wrong I will delete these sentences. Fair?

Loads of nuts and oak. The aromas are deep and weighty in that they sit heavy in the nose (for context, I have described these as having a similar effect) Rich. Sweet but woody like peach pits, some kind of flower but I dont know what it is called; it is purple-ish.

A great interplay of sweet barley and oak; starts with a fruity, syrupy sweetness and then oak swells up in the mouth. Never drying or too woody, tho. It is a spicy balance of bourbon and sherry oak influence, vanilla pods and cinnamon. The sweetness comes back to coat the finish which is firmly based in oak, solid and medium-long.


A very satisfying, typically speyside-style whisky. Never gets too sweet or too oaky, showing great balance in this regard. Not as exciting as the 15 French Oak, with dozens of perceptible flavours and aromas, but much more certain of who it is and that kind of confidence is good in a whisky as it is something you feel you can trust over the years and know what you are getting every time.

Malt Mission #51
Malt Mission #53
Malt Mission #54
Malt Mission #55

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Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Malt Mission 2007 #27

Glenlivet 15yo, French Oak Reserve
Single Malt Scotch Whisky

40% abv


$56.15 (CAD)
$50 (USD)

So this week will be one exploring a few sexy teenagers. If that phrase offends you, know that I use it only to provide a mis-step to those perverts who Google the term "sexy teenagers". All whiskies tasted are at least 15 years old...

The valley of the river Livet was once a place full of illicit stills until George Smith, one of these illicit stillmen, became a legal operator of a distillery. This made him kind of unpopular with his former mates. He joined with Andrew Usher, the grandfather of whisky blending, and developed 'Old Vatted Glenlivet', a vatted malt that became quite famous around the world. Lots of distilleries started using the name Glenlivet. In the 1930s Scottish writer Neil Gunn
described this whisky "as a synonym for the real stuff."

THE Glenlivet had to fight a few hefty legal battles for its name. They are quite adamant about emphasising the THE in THE Glenlivet, not that it is super relevant anymore, but it once was. Glenlivet was used as a suffix for many distillery's single malt bottlings as a descriptor of the contents more than anything else. From the 1970's til 2001 Canadian drinks giant Seagram's owned the distillery.

Launched at Whisky Live Glasgow 2004, this whisky followed quickly on the heels of the much loved (by me, at least) 12yo French Oak Finish that had only been available for a short while and then vanished (You can still find bottles of the stuff, but you will pay a pretty penny for it). But do the math on the current release and you will find it well worth the money AND quite cheap in Ontario. Basically, this is the standard 12yo aged for an additional 3 years in French Limousin oak(wood used for many Cognacs)


Peardrops and perfumy impressions. Hippie oils. Sandalwood. Hyacinth and earth. Salty black licorice. Fermented plums. Under-ripe strawberries. A whisky everyone will find something different in. Quite multi-dimensional and exciting.

Sweet and medium bodied. Cognac. Tiramisu, Amaretto, almond extract. Synthetic banana flavouring. Cinnamon. Loads going on as the flavours change. Toffee chunk cookies, oat or even malted barley cookies. Tightens up in the mouth, interesting sensation. Drying to a finish leaving woodshop aromas, raspberry or ginger bitterness, and flavoured pipe tobacco.


It must be said that first of all, this bottle, and all distillery bottlings of Glenlivet for that matter, have weak cork pop sounds. Weak 'whuth' effect like flaccid flatulence, if you know what I mean. But that is where my criticisms stop. Some people have found this too sweet, some find it too puckering or whatever word you choose to use, others find it a beautiful speysider with a cognac-y twist. You decide. I don't care. I like the stuff. This is a bottle that, when dried, gets replaced on our shelves.

Malt Mission #26
Malt Mission #28
Malt Mission #29
Malt Mission #30

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