George Smith knew that Glenlivet was the perfect location in which to make whisky, which is why he built his distillery there in 1824. But it required all his skills as a distiller and his unrivalled knowledge of the glen and its resources to succeed. The Glenlivet of today is George Smith’s priceless legacy. Crucially, the three fundamental elements in the whisky-making process – spring water, copper stills and oak casks have remained unchanged. So have the skills have the people who make it. That is why the Glenlivet is as incomparable now as it was at the beginning.
Chivas Brothers, the Scotch whisky and premium gin business of Pernod Ricard recently announced (2007) that The Glenlivet achieved during 2006 its target of 500,000 9L cases set in 2003 when it was selling 375,000 9l cases, a testament to the unerring commitment of the world’s number two wines and spirits company to making The Glenlivet single malt Scotch whisky the global category leader.
The Glenlivet is one of Pernod Ricard’s 15 strategic global brands and is only the second single malt to ever reach this sales milestone, which is equivalent to 6 million bottles sold a year. It is the second most popular premium malt whisky in the world. The Glenlivet is the number one malt whisky in the dynamic US market, and is also making significant gains in Asia-Pacific markets like Taiwan and Japan as well as key European markets. In Australia Glenlivet 12 YO sits just behind Glenfiddich 12 YO as the largest selling single malt whisky in Australia. Dominence of this market space is dependent on who which company is going to be on special throughout the liquor discounters this week. The Glenlivet and Glenfiddich 12 YO offer excellent value for money, but do also reinforce that you get what you pay for. Inexpensive single malt whiskies are aged in barrels which have been refilled several times, hence the oak has little more to give and take, so they tend to be quite bland.
Glenlivet 15yo - Our Thoughts
The Glenlivet 15yo has had ageing in New Limousin Oak Barrels. That is Le Moo San. Not a stretch cadillac. Limousin is a forest in south-central France near the city of Limoges that produces oak used in barrels. Limousin oak is prized because it is loosely grained and therefore imparts a more obvious oak flavor and stronger tannins. There is some evidence, however, that the cooperage treatment may have as much to do with Limousin’s esteemed reputation as the wood itself. Limousin barrels are quite popular for use in making cognac. Being NEW oak, it has a LOT of flavour to give and is very potent at absorbing unpleasant flavours. A limousine barrel costs in excess of $2,000 and you only get 1 go of it as new oak, so this is why the 15 YO costs more, and the additional flavours make it worth the money, but is still very reasonable at $89.99 for a 15 YO single malt.
Distillery Tasting Notes
The Glenlivet 15YO gets its distinctive rich and exotic character from a process of selective maturation in which a proportion of the spirit is matured in French oak casks. In fact, we at The Glenlivet were one of the first to use French oak for making whisky, a technique that has since been imitated the world over.
Colour: Deep, intense gold
Nose: Creamy, rich, buttery
Palate: Fruit and nut
Finish: Lingering, sweet almond and spice