Back in March 2020, I had a lovely colleague staying with me in Nurnberg, waiting for flights to open up so she could go to Singapore for her new assignment. As she was moving, all her household belongings were shipped except for the booze…. and she just so happened to have a trio of Glenlivet minis that made their way into my whisky cabinet.
They sat neglected for a few years until one evening, as the snow fell outside, nearly three years later, it just seemed to be the right time to crack them open… So what did I think?
“Smooth & Complex” Glenlivet Master Distiller’s Reserve 40%
- Nose – Light spice, coconut, hint of fruit
- Palate – Soft, watery honey
- Finish – Light, faintly bitter
I have to admit it’s been some time since I’ve had something quite so mass-produced. One could call it “delicate”, another description would be “insipid”… either way it was quite light, simple, and smooth however not in the least bit complex. Clearly, I wouldn’t fully agree with their ‘tag’ for this particular dram – Smooth? Sure. Complex? Nope.
What do the folks at Glenlivet say?
Maturation in the three different types of cask gives this expression its unique depth of flavour that includes creamy coconut, soft fudge, dried fruit and spicy richness.
Created for travel retail, it was launched with Alan Winchester, who has been Master Distiller at the distillery since 2009. He created this whisky with European oak butts and first-fill American barrels as well as refill hoggies.
“Intense & Velvety” – Glenlivet Master Distiller’s Reserve – Solera Vatted 40%
- Nose – Toffee, malt, a bit of apple pie, a dash of spice, salty caramel
- Palate – Light spice, orchard fruits, some fudge
- Finish – Slightly bitter, some spice, chased by honey
Much more interesting! Though subtle, it grows on you – particularly the nose and finish. Whilst I wouldn’t call it “intense” (after all, I’m a cask strength kinda gal), it was quite velvety smooth.
What do the folks at Glenlivet say?
The finished single malt whiskies are brought together in our Solera Vat, which is never emptied, producing a whisky with intense layers, velvety character and a honeyed sweetness.
Another travel retail offering, released in the summer of 2015 and is no longer readily available, Once upon a time, it retailed for approx GBP 60.
“Delicately Spiced” – Glenlivet Master Distiller’s Reserve – Small Batch 40%, Batch No 9378/005 ex-Sherry in American oak
- Nose – Malty, fruits, vanilla, a touch nutty
- Palate – Much spicier – in a good way, some marmalade, raisins
- Finish – Again a bit bitter, then shifts into fruits and nuts
Spicier than the other two, the oak influence is quite pronounced. One could also catch the clear sherry element too.
What do they say?
Released and bottled in small uniquely numbered batches, some of our finest and rarest whiskies come together to create a perfectly balanced malt with warm fruity flavours and hints of spiciness.
Another Travel Retail market release (approx GBP 80), the Master Distiller’s Reserve Small Batch is made with various casks – first-fill ex-Sherry, first-fill American oak casks, etc.
Obviously, the Distillers Reserve didn’t exactly “make the cut” for me… however, I enjoyed the Solera Vatted and Small Batch with the aromas of the Solera comforting whereas the palate of the Small Batch was more interesting. Whilst I won’t be running out to buy Glenlivet travel retail anytime soon, however it was a nice reminder of why these folks have such popularity.
As for other Glenlivet tastings? Check out:
- 10 year (2007/2018) 1st Fill Sherry Cask#900214 Batch #2 64.1% (LMdW Artist #8)
- 12 year. 15 year,18 year 43%
- 14 year (2003/2018) 56.5% (G&MP)
- 19 year (1995/2015) 58.1% Sherry CS No 16695 (Signatory)
- 21 year 43%
- Master Distiller’s Reserve 40%
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