Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Single Malt Savings: The Glenlivet 15yr French Oak Reserve

Last Saturday I was perusing the drinks aisle at my local Waitrose (yes, I am that fancy) when I spotted that Glenlivet was on a special offer. Assuming it to be the 12yr old, I moved on without thinking much about it, and continued my quest for some alcoholic fodder for this week’s piece.

Devoid of inspiration I returned to the whiskies and took a closer look: it was actually the Glenlivet 15yr old, down from £39 to £31.99! The bottle was in my basket as quick as an unfathomably fast thing (pretty swift eh?).

It is here that I need to make a brutal, embarrassing and harrowing confession; that I, a whisky drinker, have never had a Glenlivet. I felt that this was a fundamental part of my whisky education that had been left untouched, malnourished and in need of rectification and prayed I wasn’t wrong.

Getting the bottle home I waited with baited breath for the evening when I could get into that foil. The Glenlivet smells hugely floral, with sweeter spices in the nutmeg/ cinnamon vein and something that almost reminds me of peardrops, strangely enough. It’s a really wonderful nose, not as complex perhaps as some of the others I’ve reviewed, but still scrumptious.

This whisky has presence and body as you drink it - really big and beefy. It has a woody spiciness, with all the florality and then fruity notes coming in towards the end before the final spice attack. You get a nice coating on your tongue and it has a decent length, which is fantastic. 

The French oak really imparts some different scents and flavours, some sweeter fruit than I've had before (in my experience, sweeter notes are normally more like caramel, fudge or toffee). This new dimension is really fascinating and led to me having to try several glasses of this one (naturally).

I think this is a great whisky and great value at the moment, however although I’ve seen it said that this would be a great scotch for "the ladies" to try, I feel that there would be others better suited such as Dalwhinnie or Balvennie.

For me this sits at the manlier end of the floral spectrum -  I just couldn’t drink this everyday. I think I'll keep this for special occasions when I want to set the lighter whiskies aside and have something with that extra body behind it. Powerful stuff indeed.

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