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.)
Gordon & MacPhail Generations 80 year old (Distilled at Glenlivet), 44.9%
Single Malt Scotch | $108,085
The nose is fragrant with black cherry, black currant cassis, apricot stone, pressed flowers, creamy caramel, beeswax polish, leather, and a touch of smoke. Sweet creamy texture of caramel-drizzled dates, elegant sherry notes, citrus peel oils, menthol, soft peppery spices, and a faint trace of pipe smoke on the finish. The lack of heavy oak tannins from a cask filled in February 1940 is as remarkable as this whisky.
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.)
Gordon & MacPhail Private Collection 1954 (distilled at Glenlivet), 41%
Single Malt Scotch | $15,000
The nose yields baked apples, cherry blossom, marzipan, then blackcurrant cordial and a hint of coal smoke. The palate features cocktail cherries, sponge cake, faint sherry, plus prunes and raisins. The finish is very long; tannic, with musty black pepper. (50 Bottles in U.S.)
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.
Part of a trio of 20-cl bottles, initially released without tasting notes or maturation details to present an open journey through a “spectrum” of flavors (the reveal came earlier this year). Sherry and American oak-matured Spectra 01 offers notes of hay, lemon zest, mint, pineapple, and melon. The palate reveals darker fruit notes as well as baking spice, chocolate-chip cookies, and tiramisu, leading to a creamy finish of honeyed pastries and angel-food cake.
A riddle inside a bottle, this release follows Glenlivet’s previous mystery series bottlings Alpha, Cipher, and Code. Packaged in a jet-black bottle and box that look part Arthur C. Clarke monolith and part 3-D cryptic crossword puzzle, it’s devoid of cask information or tasting notes by design. The best solution is to open it and unlock the whisky’s secrets. Classic Glenlivet notes of lemon curd, melon, fresh peaches, bitter orange, and baked apples on the nose, followed by a smooth, creamy palate of marshmallow, toasted almond, marzipan, and lemon iced tea. The long, vibrant finish is replete with crème brûlée, sultana, cinnamon, and tropical fruit. Number 8 in the 2019 Top 20
Part of Glenlivet’s mystery series, the concept is to have drinkers form their impressions with no information about the whisky’s age or cask maturation, although those details will be revealed at year’s end. The nose has notes of lemon curd, melon, fresh peaches, bitter orange, and baked apples. A nimble, creamy palate offers marshmallow, toasted almond, marzipan, and lemon iced tea. The finish has length and vibrance, with crème brûlée, cinnamon, and a tropical note. A delicate, enchanting whisky.
Gordon & MacPhail Private Collection: 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
Gordon & MacPhail Private Collection 1979 (Distilled at Glenlivet; Cask No. 19237), 54%
Single Malt Scotch | $2200
The nose yields tangerines, linseed, marzipan, ginger, and honey, followed by a mild menthol note. Rounded and chewy on the palate, with lively orchard fruit flavors, turning to slightly bitter Seville orange and light chile. Licorice root and tannins develop in the very long, citric finish. (62 bottles; U.S. exclusive)
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!
The second Spectra expression in the trio was finished in peated casks. Fragrant whiffs of woodsmoke, fresh meadow, and pleasant waxiness, then lemon cake, ripe mango, green apple slices, green grapes, and manuka honey. It’s delicate and only lightly smoked, with layers of blackberry jam, chocolate, blueberry pie, vanilla cream, poppy seeds, and baking spice. A gentle finish of lemon, green apple, and vanilla. Engaging, with intriguingly subtle peat.
Bottle 3 of the Spectra series was finished in double-charred casks. Light notes of lemon sorbet, fresh pineapple, and strawberry shortcake on the nose, set against gentle oak. A honeyed palate has soft flavors of apple tart, cooked pears, dark chocolate, baking spice, and back notes of black currant. Superbly balanced, lightly spiced, with hints of green banana and lemon peel. A smooth, delicate finish offers honeysuckle, melon, vanilla wafers, almond, and lemon cake.
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.)