The Glenlivet Cellar Collection 1969 vintage, 50.8%
Single Malt Scotch | $750
It’s great that Glenlivet releases whiskies under the 'Cellar Collection' label. It really shows the true potential of Glenlivet. This bottling is classic ultra-matured Glenlivet, and rivals the 1959 vintage Cellar Collection as the best one ever. An incredibly complex whisky, with notes of vanilla, ripe barley, coconut, and caramel. All this is accentuated by glazed orange, hazelnut, and a potpourri of dried spices. Not the least bit tired for such an aged whisky. (Only 800 bottles for the U.S.)
A marriage of three casks, one of them an ex-sherry butt. The sherry is certainly evident, and this is more sherried than many of the Cellar Collection whiskies to date. Opulent and seductive, with prominent fruit (glazed spiced oranges, ripe peach, and hints of pineapple and coconut), caramel-coated nuts, and vanilla custard. A peppering of ginger and cinnamon throughout. Coating, soothing finish. Polished and seamless, with no trace of excessive oak. One of the richest -- and finest -- Cellar Collections to date. Anyone willing and able to cough up the bucks for this whisky will be richly rewarded. (Only 240 bottles available in the U.S., beginning June 2010.)
The Glenlivet Cellar Collection 1964 vintage, 44.7%
Single Malt Scotch | $2,000
The fifth in a series of Glenlivet Cellar Collection whiskies. This is a very complex whisky, with exotic notes of oak, sultana, vanilla cream, almonds, and evergreen. These notes are quite floral on the nose and well balanced, with no hint of excessive aging. The palate is polished, deep, and continuously evolving, with a long spicy finish. The oak notes reveal that this whisky has some years on it, but they in no way dominate or detract from the other flavors. An outstanding effort! This rivals the 1959 vintages as the best of the Cellar Collection releases. You’ll need deep pockets, though.
Amber chestnut color. Aromas of mature oak, leather, ripe fruit, and toffee, are very deep and well balanced. Its flavors are rich and enveloping, with notes of treacle, toffee, roasted nuts, and a long, spicy, woody finish that lingers.
Finished in first-fill sherry casks for two years. My feeling on any whisky finished in a different cask is this: it should give as much to the flavor profile as it takes away. In this instance, I feel it has, and more. It’s not as nimble as younger versions, but the sherry, along with the extra aging, contributes a silky texture and a richer, fuller dimension to the whisky. I can still detect some of the peach, vanilla, tropical fruit, and honeyed malt I enjoy in younger expressions, but its key flavor components are toffee, honey-dipped citrus, red licorice, chocolate-covered almonds, and fig, along with dried spice (cinnamon, nutmeg, mint tea) that emerges on the palate and peaks on the finish. The flavors are seamless and elegantly balanced.
Gordon & MacPhail Private Collection: The Glenlivet Decades 1954, 50.6%
Single Malt Scotch | $2,050
A quintet of releases showing examples of The Glenlivet from five decades, issued to support The Glenlivet Generations 70 year old bottling. All are available individually or in a limited edition set (50 only) for £2,850; these bottlings are not currently available in the U.S. First-fill sherry wood makes a return here and adds its own rich dried fruitiness — think sultana cake — to the exotic whisky rancio notes of cheese rind, sealing wax, and roasting pheasant. As it opens, there’s fig, some peat smoke, black cherry, and concentrated stone fruits. This exotic/savory/sweet interplay continues on the tongue where there’s a surprising hint of mint and some pear blossom. The finish is long, with apple skin, gingerbread, and walnut. A discreet nod to cognac. £1,250
Duncan Taylor (distilled at Glenlivet) 1987 vintage 22 year old, 46%
Single Malt Scotch | $110
Whiskies distilled at Glenlivet might be easy to find throughout the world, but this is a good thing. Take this one from Duncan Taylor—it’s delicious! It’s elegantly complex, with a tropical accent (coconut, pineapple), strawberries with whipped cream, and caramel-dipped apple. The sweetness is never heavy or cloying, and it’s balanced by lovely dried spice throughout (vanilla, ginger, soft mint, nutmeg), and especially towards the finish. Nicely done!
A special bottling to celebrate a major distillery expansion in 2010. So nice to see this whisky bottled at cask strength and not chill-filtered. Silky smooth, velvety texture. Creamy sweet foundation of vanilla fudge and caramel-coated almond. Plenty of fruit, too (golden raisin, honeyed peach, ripe nectarine, hint of banana bread). Richly textured, good weight (but not cloying), and the flavors combine seamlessly. A celebratory whisky indeed.
This expression is reputed to contain some whisky up to 40 years old and was matured in a mix of bourbon and sherry casks. The nose offers overt sherry influences, with fruit malt loaf, maple syrup, honey, and old leather. Full and slightly oily on the rich palate, with toffee, raisins, Brazil nuts, and fresh cake mix. Dusty spices and oak in the relatively dry finish.
Richly textured with mouth-coating malt that is balanced by an array of lively fruit (fresh peach, nectarine, tangerine, pears in honey, and delicately caramelized pineapple). Creamy caramel, crème brûlée, anise, and subtle toasted marshmallow add complexity, as does its gently spicy, pleasingly dry finish. Two years older than the standard 16 year old Nadurra (which I like for its vibrancy and freshness). This new Triumph 1991 is richer and more textured, with more caramelized sugars, riper barley, and greater fruit impact. More mouth-coating too. (Exclusive to the U.S.)
Murray McDavid 'Mission' (distilled at Glenlivet) 1974, 46%
Single Malt Scotch | $150
Deep gold color. Incredibly complex, subtle aromas of vanilla, honey, marshmallow, tropical fruit (pineapple, peaches, coconut), floral notes and a hint of almonds. Medium-full in body, and firm. On the palate, the flavors are complex and exhibit the same notes as the aroma, starting out gently sweet, but gradually becoming fruity and eventually drying out on the finish.
The Glenlivet Cellar Collection 1980 (bottled 2011), 43.3%
Single Malt Scotch | $1,593
A vatting of three first-fill American oak casks, for me this is the most lifted and effusive of the ongoing Cellar Collection range. The nose is full of aromas of anise, blackcurrant leaf, honeysuckle, jasmine, frangipani flowers, and a subtle almond sweetness. The palate continues in similar vein with more spice and just sufficient oak to add distinct structure and a coconut character. Sublime. It won’t, however, be released in the U.S. £1,000
Gordon & MacPhail Generations: The Glenlivet 70 year old, 45.9%
Single Malt Scotch | $21,000
You would expect any 70 year old whisky to be crepuscular, dense, and wooded. Not here. The nose is amazingly fresh — distillery character fully intact — with layers of rancio and heavy florals. In time, there’s candle wax, vanilla, milk chocolate, and a touch of leather, even the whiff of a soft mink stole. Concentrated and complex. The palate is like an ancient vin santo with oxidized nuttiness, quince and medlar, and subtle peat. Hugely expressive on the palate, with a sweet finish. Truly remarkable.
Gordon & MacPhail Private Collection: The Glenlivet Decades 1963, 40.6%
Single Malt Scotch | $1,230
A quintet of releases showing examples of The Glenlivet from five decades, issued to support The Glenlivet Generations 70 year old bottling. All are available individually or in a limited edition set (50 only) for £2,850; these bottlings are not currently available in the U.S. A first-fill American oak hoggie was the receptacle for the representative from the 1960s. The cask has provided an extremely relaxed environment for maturation to take place, with a return of the pineapple (grilled on a barbecue this time), along with linden blossom, cream, green jasmine tea, and mint. The effect is like a grown up 1991. The maturity kicks in on the palate — thick and slow with some sandalwood alongside honeysuckle. Gentle and clean, and again not one to dilute. £750
Mackillop's Choice (distilled at Glenlivet) 27 year old 1977 vintage, 43%
Single Malt Scotch | $125
A very clean whisky, with fragrant dried flowers, aromas of germinating barley, textured honey, vanilla waver, coconut cream and teasing fresh pineapple. Drying, delicately minty finish. For those who love the richly elegant, non-sherried style of older Glenlivet whiskies.
Aged exclusively in first-fill bourbon casks and bottled unfiltered and at natural cask strength. This takes the usually subtle Glenlivet and makes it more vibrant, amplifying its flavors while accentuating the bourbon oak. Tight notes of honeyed malt, vanilla bean, toasted oak, bright fruit, and nuts, are peppered with more subtle floral and spice notes. Dry, spicy finish. A Glenlivet with pizzazz.
Antique amber color. This whisky maintains the elegance cherished by Glenlivet enthusiasts, but finishing the whisky in limousin oak produces a whisky of deeper wood notes, particularly wood spices (vanilla, sandalwood, perhaps even mint) and floral notes. It’s rich, complex, and dry-especially on the finish.
Duncan Taylor (distilled at Glenlivet) 1968 Vintage 35 year old, 43.1%
Single Malt Scotch | $155
Younger bottlings of Glenlivet are often quite elegant and subtle. But such finesse isn’t always evident in older expressions, which often become dominated by sherry and oak. This one, at 35 years of age, demonstrates plenty of elegance and finesse. What impresses me most about this whisky is that you wouldn’t know it was 35 year old just by taste. It isn’t the least bit tired on the palate, and it is very clean, without the excessive woodiness often found in whiskies of this age. Plus, the balance of flavors is impeccable-vanilla, honeyed malt, peaches, pineapple, heather, and just a touch of oak. A very polished, refined whisky.
Style: Speyside single malt scotch Color: Amber Aroma: Rich and rather full for Glenlivet, with nuts and fruit, drenched with layers of toffee and caramel. Palate: Rich and enveloping-almost chewy-with notes of toffee and caramel up front. Delicate fruit, nuts and spice emerge mid-palate, adding complexity, becoming dry with a long spicy finish
Scott's Selection (distilled at Glenlivet) 27 year old 1977 Vintage, 53.1%
Single Malt Scotch | $165
Very stylish. Quite refined too, with notes of vanilla, peaches and flowering currant. The whisky is very soft on the palate, delicate and almost bashful at times. Indeed, it may take a couple of dates with this whisky for it to fully to reveal itself. The whisky finishes toasty, with a pleasing cereal grain maltiness. Some whiskies are great after dinner; others make wonderful pre-dinner drams. This one is great anytime.
New packaging and new whisky too-sort of. According to Glenlivet’s whisky maker Jim Cryle, Archive is now being bottled in smaller batches, allowing them to be more selective in the casks used to improve its quality and flavor. I believe that it has worked. It tastes more refined. Along with Archive’s signature creamy toffee notes, I’m picking up beautiful floral, vanilla, and fruity notes (peaches, pineapple, coconut) on the nose and palate, with subtler nutty, anise threads throughout. An elegant expression of Glenlivet.
The Glenlivet Cellar Collection 1972 vintage, 52.3%
Single Malt Scotch | $700
Lovely bouquet of dried citrus fruit, honeyed apricot and plum, complemented by exotic wood spice, malty vanilla, and a hint of mint and anise. Similar follow-through on the palate, with the sweeter notes up front, full fruit impact mid-palate, leading to a dry, peppery, exotic wood spice finish. The whisky evolves on the palate and is very impressive, with its only blemish being a bit too dry and oaky on the finish.
Duncan Taylor (distilled at Glenlivet), cask #2831, 39 year old, 44.7%
Single Malt Scotch | $305.00
This whisky fits the profile of other extra-matured Glenlivet whiskies I’ve tasted. Notes of coconut and other assorted tropical fruit, old rum, caramel custard, shortbread cookies, vanilla malt, and a hint of cotton candy. This is all balanced by polished oak. A soothing, rather sweet whisky (which is quite surprising for its age).
Signatory (distilled at Glenlivet) 25 year old 1980 vintage (Cask #13735), 53.9%
Single Malt Scotch | $160
Very fragrant. Spicy too, with notes of honeyed vanilla, peaches in cream, butterscotch, cinnamon, licorice (red and black), light nuttiness, and toasted oak on the finish. Nice mouthfeel, well-balanced, and quite rich for such an elegant whisky.
Peerless (distilled at Glenlivet) 1968 34 year old, 45.9%
Single Malt Scotch | $95
Deep gold color. Exotic aroma of tropical fruit (coconut, pineapple), vanilla, and honey. Medium bodied and firm. On the palate: honey, vanilla, and tropical fruit up front, becoming dry, with subtly complex spice notes. Deep, dry, lingering finish.
Lonach (distilled at Glenlivet) 34 year old 1971 vintage, 40%
Single Malt Scotch | $160
Lively on the nose for its age (and on the palate too -- the tell-tale oak emerges only towards the end). Notes of creamy vanilla, barley sugar, coconut, pineapple, and general citrus notes throughout. Dried spices (especially cinnamon) kick in mid-palate and continue into a lengthy, dry, polished oak finish.
Mackillop’s Choice (distilled at Glenlivet) 1977 vintage 30 year old (Cask #19786), 43%
Single Malt Scotch | $180
Once again Lorne Mackillop demonstrates his talent for selecting whiskies with beautiful balance. This time it’s with a well-aged Glenlivet. Sure, it shows many of the notes that I often find in Glenlivet (Speyside elegance, peachy vanilla, tropical fruit, floral and honeyed-malt notes), but I’m also picking up more subtle notes: dark chocolate, licorice root, dark fruit, perhaps even charcoal (especially on the finish), making the whisky a bit more complex and curiously attractive.
There’s no doubt that this is from Glenlivet; there’s still that pure combination of fruit and flowers, now given a little nudge toward a more concentrated expression: the flowers are dried and heathery, the fruits tinned pineapple, windfall apples. An added cedar/nutmeg note adds to the complexity. Liquorous and tongue-clinging with custard tart notes before the autumn fruits come through. A sense of the curtains being drawn and a settling in for the winter. Recommended.
Deep gold color. A very delightful aroma that defies its age, with notes of rich creamy vanilla, exotic tropical fruit, honey, and toasted oak. Rich, mouth coating texture and body. Its flavor starts out like its aroma-creamy vanilla, tropical fruit, honey-then turns dry and becomes very dry, leathery, and oaky on the finish. Soothing, long dry finish.
I enjoy Glenlivet whisky for its subtle elegance, floral notes, along with a delicious "peaches & cream" flavor. For this particular whisky, finishing some of the whisky in new French oak barrels adds depth, dried spice (vanilla, clove) and pleasing dryness to the Glenlivet profile. This whisky is more polished and refined than the 12 year old expression it replaces.
Cadenhead's (distilled at Glenlivet) 12 year old, 60.5%
Single Malt Scotch | $98
Amber gold color. Rather sweet aroma and flavors of caramel, light toffee, almonds, and vanilla. A background note of fruit (lemon? ripe cherries?) contributes to its complexity. Its body is somewhat rich and chewy. A dryness on the finish keeps the sweetness of the whisky in check.
Gordon & MacPhail ('Smith's Glenlivet') 21 year old, 43%
Single Malt Scotch | $125
Well-rounded and pleasingly sweet, with ripe red strawberries, raspberry, tropical fruit, graham cracker, white chocolate, and anise, all on a bed of toffee. Some charred oak on the finish. This whisky has a gentle, soothing persona which I think most people will enjoy (me included).
Gordon & MacPhail ('Smith's Glenlivet'), 21 year old, 43%
Single Malt Scotch | $125.00
Well-rounded and pleasingly sweet, with ripe strawberry, raspberry, tropical fruit, graham cracker, white chocolate, and anise, all on a bed of toffee. Some charred oak on the finish. This whisky has a gentle, soothing persona which I think most people will enjoy (me included).
Gordon & MacPhail Private Collection: The Glenlivet Decades 1980, 48.5%
Single Malt Scotch | $410
A quintet of releases showing examples of The Glenlivet from five decades, issued to support The Glenlivet Generations 70 year old bottling. All are available individually or in a limited edition set (50 only) for £2,850; these bottlings are not currently available in the U.S. This is from a first fill American oak hoggie, and the extra time in cask has given it a classic mature Glenlivet character: a rich, complex mix of cooked apple, pine, and citrus, cut with rose petal. The fruitiness has moved from pear into baked apricot. Water adds an almond note. The scented notes have been retained (especially on the finish), but have deepened into sweet spice. The oak gives light grip. Have with chilled water on the side. £250
As with the ‘Fiddich (reviewed in this issue), here’s a malt where an improved wood policy has brought a dram to life and added complexity. The Glenlivet has always been about lightness, but the trick is to have sufficient solid base to allow its flower to blossom, so as well as lily, orchid, and pineapple, there’s a thick creaminess that gently beds all of these flighty flavors down. With water, there’s mandarin and rose petal, and a sneeze of white pepper. Simply lovely. Value Pick
Gordon & MacPhail Private Collection: The Glenlivet Decades 1991, 54.4%
Single Malt Scotch | $156
A quintet of releases showing examples of The Glenlivet from five decades, issued to support The Glenlivet Generations 70 year old bottling. All are available individually or in a limited edition set (50 only) for £2,850; these bottlings are not currently available in the U.S. The youngest of the quintet has been aged in refill sherry hogsheads, but the coconut that immediately assails the nostrils suggests they were made from American oak. Alongside this is the distillery’s signature pineapple note which sits under a scented, floral lift. Water adds a further layer of ripe pear. The palate is equally heightened with a powdery feel. It’s pretty discreet and I’d be cautious with any dilution. The finish is a mix of night-scented stocks, custard, and green apple. £95
The aim here was to recreate the style of malt made by George Smith, but rather than running peated malt, Chivas Bros. has aged the spirit in Islay casks (not what George would have done). On the upside, this is a classic Nadurra: estery fruits with pineapple to the fore, freesia, pear, and fresh apple, the smoke giving subtle gun-flint notes to the palate. I like it as a dram, but it’s wimped out of what was intended. Marked accordingly.
Cask & Thistle (distilled at Glenlivet) 30 year old 1973 Vintage, 46%
Single Malt Scotch | $100
Its deep amber/ruby color suggests a lot of sherry, and one whiff confirms. The whisky is rich and sappy in texture, with lush notes of ripe sherry fruit balanced by dry, mature spicy oak. There’s a pleasant soothing texture to the whisky too, but I do struggle to find the subtle complexities which make some bottlings of Glenlivet so special. There’s just so much oak and sherry dominating. At its best after dinner or with a cigar.
Kirkland Signature (distilled at Glenlivet) 40 year old, 40%
Single Malt Scotch | $700
Bottling of a large package of 12 butts and 30 hoggies dating from 1972. The nose is slightly closed initially, but shows good mature distillery character: old apple, potpourri, more raspberry, and furniture polish. The palate is a little dry, with humidor and light chocolate, but needs water to bring out the fruit-sugar sweetness. It’s good, but that low bottling strength has sapped it of the energy which is vital for old whiskies. (U.S. only)
This new NAS might surprise those who recall the Chivas Bros. “Age Matters” campaign, but that’s whisky for you. The initial impression is of a fresh maltiness, sweet hay, and fresh porridge oats, then comes sawn oak, but it opens into pineapple, becoming more obviously Glenlivet. The palate is pretty and light, but seems a bit hollow in the middle, making the whole package slightly insubstantial. Water enhances and sweetens the nose, but deepens that mid-palate hole. £30
I’m a fan of the original Nadurra’s freshness, which maximizes Glenlivet’s apple blossom and pineapple perfume. This pleasantly funky new brother has been matured wholly in oloroso, which adds (very) sweet sherry, nougat, blackcurrant, grilled pear, and malt. While the palate starts well, with mixed red and black fruits (and a little grapefruit), the sherry adds thickness from back palate on and the distillery slides away. Pleasant, but a tale of two halves. (Travel Retail exclusive) £50
The Glenlivet Guardians Single Cask 18 year old, 55.7%
Single Malt Scotch | $238
A limited edition—there are only 630 bottles of this—for those who are “Glenlivet Guardians.” A sherry refill, it’s a gentle expression that has typical Glenlivet floral elements that are more lifted than usual: elderflower cordial, jasmine, and night-scented stocks. A subtle spiciness emerges with a drop of water. This general smoothness continues on the palate with ginger in syrup and an enlivening citric note on the finish.
Adelphi (distilled at Glenlivet) 1978 34 year old, 48.8%
Single Malt Scotch | $160
Think of sponge fingers soaked in cream and you’re not far off the initial aroma. Add in light macadamia-like nuttiness, a drift of mint, and Glenlivet’s signature apple — core, not green. As it opens, it becomes woodier, like a brush pile. The palate has sweet, pure, pear-like fruit that initially keeps the oak in balance. It seems to need water, but when it’s added the oak takes over. Good, but a little tired. £102
Gordon & MacPhail Private Collection: The Glenlivet Decades 1974, 50.1%
Single Malt Scotch | $820
A quintet of releases showing examples of The Glenlivet from five decades, issued to support The Glenlivet Generations 70 year old bottling. All are available individually or in a limited edition set (50 only) for £2,850; these bottlings are not currently available in the U.S. The nose immediately betrays the fact that this has been matured in a first-fill sherry hogshead. It’s akin to an artisan’s workshop, all leather oil and strange resins. There’s an intriguing hint of curry spices and truffle, but all in all this is about density, black fruits (damson), allspice, and clove. The cask is in charge. The palate has more tannin than you perhaps want — powerful and grippy with lots of nut and tea-like tannins; too grippy for me. £500