Recommended use: Serve neat
Malt Mileage Rating: ★★★★★★
Type: Single malt Scotch whisky
Origin: Speyside, Scotland
Price: AU$250 / US$200 / £150
1. The whisky
Admittedly, while I think whisky awards and scoring a whisky out of 100 is nonsense, I do have some favourite whiskies. Among them is The Glenlivet 21 year old; probably my favourite Speysider for a number of years now. I have come to know this fair 21 year old Scottish beauty well, having enjoyed three bottles of the Glenlivet 21 year old over three years. I just finished the third bottle. As my third conquered bottle lay there, emitting that dreaded perfumed aroma only empty whisky bottles do, my mind turned to consider another 21 year old single malt other than The Glenlivet. Being unable to think of a whisky I would rather buy for the price was a clear indication that this single malt, The Glenlivet 21 year old, is probably one of my favourite whiskies. That, and I’ve polished off three bottles of the stuff.
The Glenlivet 21 year old is obviously, from its flavour profile, matured in sherry wood but beyond this it is hard to find further information about the oak types used to mature this whisky; all that is known is that there is a complex combination of cask types. This single malt is produced in bespoke batches, which makes every batch unique.
2. Tasting notes and conclusions
The Glenlivet 21 year old is a superstar single malt whisky that epitomises fine mature Scotch single malt whisky; it is the Sinatra of whiskies, with a classic and timeless smooth style and the faint smell of smoke following it wherever it goes. While I could give you a wanky long shopping list of flavours which I think I can smell and taste, the malt offers several main – and extraordinarily well balanced – themes which tend to be associated with distillate and oak.
The nose has the aroma of Oloroso, herbal smoke, honey, malt and grain. On the palate find rich malt, cereal and a surge of fiery spice, then green apple, cinnamon, vanilla, Oloroso sherry, fruit cake, cocoa, hints of resinous spiced Arabic coffee and thick syrupy honey. The finish offers bright herbal notes of menthol and eucalyptus, varnished wood, candied ginger, nut oils and faint wisps of smoke with hints of sugary sherry. It is a rich, full-bodied, luscious, sexy, mature and complex malt; hang on, I think it is the Monica Belluci of whiskies. I can’t decide, except to say that it is ridiculously good!