The Glenlivet 15 year old French Oak Reserve is reviewed by Steve Crotty.
The Glenlivet 15 year old French Oak Reserve
Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Approximate price £30 – 35
It is generally accepted that there are certain things you should never do: taunt a Millwall fan, play football with a baby bear’s severed head in front of its mother, these sorts of things. Another is to compile notes to review a whisky after a particularly crappy day at work. In a fantasy world, i.e. my head, I’m already doing this as a full time occupation. It is only in the inescapable muddle that is reality that I, like you, must work to pay for my expensive hobby, instead of work being my expensive hobby.
Right, the whisky. Glenlivet 15 Year Old (or ‘The Glenlivet’ if you’re being pernickety) is a dram that I wouldn’t ordinarily have purchased, as I was somewhat underwhelmed by the entry-level 12 year old. Sales, though, are a tempting thing, and after checking various opinions and reviews online (I found one describing the taste as ‘brown flavours’) I decided that Glenlivet deserved another chance. The 15 year old has been aged partially in Limousin French Oak casks predominately used in the making of Cognac. Appealing so far…
The nose is full-bodied and wonderful; a brooding cherry masterpiece, intertwined with a drier, almost briny scent that I can only assume comes from the French Oak.
The taste is a curious mix of the sublime and the ridiculous. The sublime wins by a short head, I get the cherries alluded to on the nose in abundance, along with the creaking presence of the oak which never gets too loud or too quiet, more of a metronome keeping things in harmony. You can’t help thinking the oak is powerful enough to send the whisky careering over the edge into unpleasantness, yet it never does. Repeated drinking highlighted two things; how damn easy and delicious the whisky is, and a slight hint of apple just at the end of the tasting (though that may just be me).
The ridiculous comes in the shape of the finish, or to be more precise; what finish? It’s akin to having sat through a gripping ninety minutes of football followed by an equally pulsating period of extra-time, only for the two teams to decide to shake hands before the penalty shootout and call it a draw. Damn it I want a shootout; I mean, I want a finish! Sadly this is something that this Glenlivet doesn’t do itself justice on.
Other than this minor pitfall however, this an excellent and flavoursome whisky that makes me want to try more things aged in Limousin casks. I sense a Cognac coming on in the near future, in the meantime I could do a lot worse than buying this again.
Overall Rating 8/10