I am not a huge Glenlivet 12 fan (I do think it’s a nice entry level malt, don’t get me wrong here, ok?) , so I was not really taken by the news of replacing the 12 year old (in some markets, relax!) which is indeed a staple whisky and second only to the Glenfiddich 12 when it comes to bottles sold worldwide each year. So yea, this is quite a bold move on behalf of The Glenlivet, replacing their young flag ship age statement whisky with a NAS. But as we al know, NAS is the trend today (for many reasons discussed here and on whisky Blogosphere countless times). My friend Phil tasted this whisky a few months ago (you can find his musings here), but I too was quite curious about how good this new offering is, especially when you compare it to the classic 12 which it might replace in your region.
Nose : Classic profile. Stewed fruit, Apple skins with fresh dough and vanilla. A hint of coconut too with a nice sweet barley note. It’s certainly not old but it’s surprisingly mature without many young spirit notes, it’s sweet and very approachable.
Palate : Lots of apple and pears as well as sweet pastry and sandalwood. Vanilla and nuts. It’s light sweet and malty getting more spicy with the wood spices towards the end. It does feel younger on the palate. Fresh and very easy to sip.
Finish : Wood spice, dry, milk chocolate and coconut. Apple peel.
I can honestly say The Glenlivet have done a good job with this one. Although it does feel “lighter” than the 12 year old, it does not feel “young” per se. It’s very well integrated, the nose is lovely, and the palate is light and sweet , making it very very drinkable, and approachable to both new drinkers (which I guess are the target audience) and more seasoned whisky drinkers. The Founder’s Reserve will be great neat, but I do realize it will mostly likely be drink on the rocks in most occasions. The only regrettable thing is that the price of this NAS is a bit higher than it’s 12 year old sibling, which I find rather questionable. A good whisky after all, even though nothing to get overly excited about. It remains to be seen how whisky lovers will get used to the fact this bears no age statement, but other than that, I feel this will be quite a success with Glenlivet drinkers, but only time will tell.
Official sample provided by the Glenlivet distillery.