Richard Barr is a member of the Whisky Israel tasting society , a blog correspondent at times, and a good whisky friend and big whisky lover. From time to time he posts his notes and adventures on our blog.
My recent travels on British Airways reminded me of a Single Malt Whisky moment I had a few years ago…
As you may know British Airways differentiates its travel classes with different aged Glenlivet expressions. Economy class gets the pedestrian 12 yo, Business class is honoured with the 15 yo, while First class is pampered with the 18 yo beauty.
Once while I was travelling Business class on British Airways, they were completely out of Glenlivet 15 yo. Upon hearing that from the flight attendant, I put on my very best sad puppy look while uttering that I understood. The lovely flight attendant took one look at me in my deep disappointment and asked me to wait a moment as she had to go up front but assured me she would return. And return she did with the First class bottle of Glenlivet 18 yo. (As a side note: unlike coach & business where we get minis, First class gets a full size bottle to pour) and proceeded to fill my glass with not 2 fingers, nay not 3 nor 4 fingers either but to the rim with whisky as “she had to return the bottle up front before getting caught”. However an hour later she winked & repeated the process without me uttering a word. That small gesture has endeared me to British Airways ever since.
They also carry the 15 yo in their business class lounges, while the 1st class lounge gets both the 15 & 18 yo. For those of you not fortunate enough BA airport lounges, I’m sure airport bars carry a nice single malt or two.
Which Glenlivet do I like best? My reply is the 1964 bottle, which I was fortunate to taste at Whiskylive London with much thanks to Ian Logan, the Global Brand Ambassador for Glenlivet. Barred by my budget from buying a bottle of it, I do enjoy their entire range and have just purchased The Glenlivet Master Distiller’s Reserve for about GBP 35 at Heathrow’s World of Whiskies.
Gal Granov asked me a more relevant question “How would I describe the 12, 15 & 18 year olds?” I’m happy to answer.
12 Year Old – For me, Green Apple is an overriding fruit in this dram, with hints of vanilla and wisps of pineapple. It has a creamy mouth-feel and very nice palate. You can read all about it in an earlier post by Shai Gilboa where he describes it in detail, including a reference to Cider HaGalil Apple Cider http://whiskyisrael.co.il/2011/02/04/the-glenlivet-12-year-old/
15 Year Old – I’ve heard people say they smell or taste everything from coconut to lemony cheese cake. The 15 year old is certainly creamier, rounder and fuller than its 12 year old sibling. Marmalade and cloves come through. For me, we have to return to The Glenlivet’s signature apple predominance. This time we move away from that crisp geen apple to a riper juicier red apple with sweet floral tones.
18 Year Old – I like to describe this one as Caramel Apples dusted with cinnamon. It has a very nice palate where influences of milk chocolate and spicy fruit are felt. It has a lovely finish with the oak aging shines through in a very balanced manner. A thoroughly enjoyable dram full of complexities worthy of contemplation