Review – Glenlivet Whisky
Founded in 1824, the Glenlivet distillery boasts the second largest global sales of any single malt whisky. Situated near Ballindalloch in the the Scottish Highlands (making it a Speyside whisky), it draws its water from a local well and is supplied with barley from nearby Portgordon. Four wash stills and four spirit stills produce some 5.9m proof litres per annum. A mix of ex-bourbon, sherry and port barrels are used for ageing.
The Glenlivet Alpha
Alpha is the most recent release from The Glenlivet, and is mysteriously packaged in a black bottle with no information or age statement. The Glenlivet like to think this will encourage consumers to use their senses when assessing this whisky, thus gaining a greater appreciation of the liquid. With so much focus often put onto the age of whiskies in particular, you can see where they are coming from. Their Facebook page does include a series of challenges that reveal a little about the whisky. This suggests that a mix of 1st fill bourbon and new oak casks are used.
Nose: Lots of top notes with masses of sweet and floral notes. Pineapple and custard tart combine with a more delicate grainy spice and roasted cereals. Twists of easy peel orange spike classic vanilla bourbon aromas all layered over tropical fruit.
Neat: More rounded than the nose, and consequentially an even more enjoyable experience. Very easy-drinking as is the house style with lots of juicy fruit, dried peel, orange liqueur, and custard making up the sweet note ranks. Spicier notes with hints of coriander enter towards the finish as does caramelised grapefruit and a little sawdust.
Neat: It’s more of the same on the palate with a generally light and sweet character being the defining memory. This is no bad thing; it’s an easy drinking whisky for sure. Vanilla, pineapple and honey stand out, with a delicate underlying hint of spied root vegetables.
Nose: Significantly less intensely fruity than it’s younger sibling but remaining a fruit-driven aroma; this time with notes of lychee. Toffee and rapeseed oil sound peculiar but help add an intriguing and successfully complex aroma.
Neat: Whilst remaining an approachable and immensely sippable whisky, the added age has been of great benefit in producing an altogether more complex and deeply flavoured liquor. The fruits are perhaps more exotic in character, with more of the custard present throughout the range. Figgy and raisiny notes show their face, as does a hint of fortified wine from the sherry cask.
The Glenlivet whiskies are immensely easy-drinking solid examples of light and fruity Speyside whisky. The idea of releasing a whisky without information or age statement is one that I applaud and it certainly stands up as a liquid in its own right. Rating: ★★★★
The Glenlivet whisky is available to buy from Master of Malt.
★: Terrible, only drink for a dare.
★★: Meh, not undrinkable but best left alone.
★★★: Reasonable, middle of the road.
★★★★: Tasty stuff, well worth seeking out.
★★★★★: Incredible, booze doesn’t get better than this. You need a bottle in your life.