After recently revisiting the Glenlivet 21 year, I decided to pull out another post from the archives in which we sampled back-to-back blind four selections in rapid succession before they were revealed.
Intrigued, our sampling began…
- Light in colour. Dismissed immediately as forgettable – nothing remarkable on the nose, palate or finish. A complete ‘light weight’ to be served at a party with drinkers who do not know any better.
- Richer gold in colour. The nose had dried fruits like prune or apricot, sweetness maintained on the palate with a hint of spice. No whiff of peat however had a fresh forest dampness. Reasonable finish that stayed. An oddly ‘manufactured’ quality. Some promise if only could sample a cask strength version.
- Even deeper colour. Much sweeter than the 2nd option – notes of raisins and figs, more towards ‘brown sugar’. Smooth fruitiness on the palate. Lingering finish. Ditto on the sense of being vaguely ‘manufactured’, yet clearly preferred.
- Also strong amber colour. Nose not as sweet, more in the dried fruit range. Palate decidedly ‘dry’, edging to kokum with a chewy rubber-like quality, hints of clove-like spice, certainly greater complexity than the earlier samples. Lasting warm finish – chocolaty with a dash of cinnamon-spice. A few drops of water enhanced.
The unveiling revealed a deliberate change to not follow an order directly correlated to age:
- Glenlivet 12 year – All perplexed that such a sad offering garners such popularity. The marvels of marketing?
- Glenlivet 18 year – While quite decent, terribly weak compared with other much more interesting 18 years like the old Highland Park, Hakushu, etc.
- Glenlivet 15 year – Tried again with a dash of water revealed a slightly more complex and spicy palate closer to the 18 year. Confirmed as the favourite.
- Glenlivet 21 year – Certainly not worthy of a 21 year price tag. Sorry folks!
The evening was salvaged by closing with the remarkable Edradour 12 year Caledonia and post dinner, a fabulous rum from Guyana – El Dorado 15 year.
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