We have a very interesting whisky this month – the Glenlivet French Oak Reserve 15yo. As I am sure you are aware, most whisky is aged in second hand bourbon barrels. Since Bourbon can only be aged in new or virgin american oak and most is only aged for 2 years, Scottish whisky makers can purchase ‘as new’ barrels very cannily. Fancy the Scots working that one out! Aye.
This month, the Glenlivet is aged in French oak. French oak has a very different flavour to American oak. It tends to have more vanilla and is far more complex. The great chardonnays of the world are aged in French oak, while your cheap and cheerful (nasty) cardy’s tend to be aged in American Oak. The tasting notes below would not be too out of place describing a Premier Cru, or Penfolds Yattarna.