Taste: Glenlivet 15 year old French Oak Reserve

The Glenlivet is one of the most popular international single malts on the market today and leads the field in America. This is a surprise as I’m still searching for a Glenlivet that really provides a memorable experience to warrant such popularity. It’s not that the whisky is terrible rather it just feels a little tired, restrained and mundane on the palate.

A positive is that Glenlivet range is attractively priced; the only discrepancy being the recent 15 year old single cask release for the Speyside Festival that was £200. In comparison this 15 year old is priced around the upper end of £30 thereby offering encouragement for those wanting to step beyond the entry level 12 year old. This approach does facilitate some experimentation without too many hazards as there is nothing worse than splashing out on a costly bottle only to be disappointed.   

Originally launched in 2000 as a 12 year old, the French Oak was re-launched in 2004 as an older expression at 15 years. I’ve never had the opportunity to experience the initial launch and on the basis of this extended aged version the move has been very successful.
Distillery: Glenlivet
Age: 15 year old
Strength: 40%
Cask: matured in French Oak casks
Colour: Gold
Aroma: A very sweet nose with honeycomb, cinder toffee and golden syrup. The real distinct lack of wood on the nose comes as a surprise with the only suggestion being just the hint of vanilla. Midway the arrival of a soapy note was unexpected although fleeting in its duration before pepper arrived on the scene.
Taste: Now here comes the wood. Citrus in the form of lemon and a tinge of burnt orange moving beyond caramel. A memorable summer moment flashes by with freshly cooked apple pie straight out of the oven with a little too much cinnamon.    
There isn’t much to dislike about this solid dram. For some the 15 year old might be the perfect evening malt or weekend treat. If you’re satisfied then great that’s what matters but I’ll continue to search out more expansive and daring whiskies.

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