Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The Glenlivet

Just a quick note about this particularly fine bottle of Scottishly amber and alcoholic ingenuity. It's a 15 year old bottle of The Glenlivet (not the French oaked version, I'm afraid), and a fine thing. It's a Speyside single malt, and a good, solid representative of the breed.

We cracked into this at work, at the end of a wearying week, with a somewhat informal tasting. About 10 people in total, with me wittering on quite knowledgelessly about single malts, Speyside characteristics, master distillers and the elegant architecture of the rounded finish.

I had been working quite hard. And I skipped breakfast and lunch. I was entitled to blather drunkenly.

It comes from the Glen of the Livet, and is fiercely proud of it's tradition and provenance. And trademark, sharing the valley with two other distilleries.


The tasting was without water, though a little water is often added to Glenlivet to open up the taste and aroma. But I'm nothing if not a purist. An arrogant, annoying, vindictive, and pretentious ponce of a purist. But a purist nonetheless.

It's quite a gentle whisky, quite sweet and comparatively syrupy in it's fifteen year old expression, with the taste developing from an initial burn to gentler notes of honeyed cinnamon and a little pepper. Other tasters have reported hints of lemon. Oddly, and, for, entirely unexpectedly, there's also quite a strong initial taste of butterscotch. The vanilla taste comes through more cleany, and develops in the aftertaste, underscored by the peppery taste and sensation creeping backwards over the tongues,which mellows a little too quickly for this age of whisky. At the very end it leaves with a slightly hazelnut kiss goodbye.

It's a fine thing to have in ones house. Shared in the staffroom amongst ten teachers at the end of a working week, it did fine service, ans met with universal acclaim. From whisky drinkers, from fine wine drinkers, from people who rarely if ever touch the stuff, and confirm bacardi breezer fans. All in all, a fine whisky to gently introduce almost anybody to the world of fine whisky. Nicely rounded and non threatening. Quite the opposite of how I felt to the guy who mixed his with a can of coke.

I had a wee dram with my father, in thanks to the gift of it from him. And a fine drink it was to toast an even finer man with.


Anonymous said...

Has often been referred to in terms of taste as a "cognac" scotch. Share some taste similarities due to the finishing in new French Limousin Oak casks. It is the wood chemistry (higher tannins etc) that give its specific character

Abulafia said...

My curent favourite, The Macallan 10 year old, is aged in sherry casks (though there is a bourbon casked version too). It's quite a unique taste.