Glenlivet 15 Years French Oak Reserve

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Distillery/Brand: Glenlivet
Region: Speyside
ABV: 40%
Colour: Sunlight

Nose: 22
Taste: 23
Finish: 23
Balance: 23

Review
This has been one of my favorite malts for a long time. Not because it’s the best malt out there but because it was one of the first I tried early on in my career as a malt enthusiast. And I’m glad it was this one for who knows what would have become of me had I tried something vile.

The uncomplicated Speyside nose is bursting at the seams with an orangey citrus burst on a bed of smooth melon rind. The honey and delicate flowers accompany this fruitiness and make for quite a nice bouquet of aromas.

The beautifully textured spirit is a touch spicy but that quickly gives way to a lovely warm fruit basket mixed with marshmallows. Something oddly comforting about this delivery.

The long and oily finish with a touch of oak keeps taking me back to why I began this glorious journey in the first place.

Rating: 91

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Glenfiddich 19 Age Of Discovery – Madeira Wine Finish

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Distillery/Brand: Glenfiddich
Region: Speyside
ABV: 40%
Colour: Pale Straw

Nose: 21
Taste: 22
Finish: 20
Balance: 21

Review
This is part one of three of the, now über popular, Age of Discovery series. A 19 year old malt finished in Madeira Wine casks complete with gorgeous box that has, not one, but two doors! So you can understand if I was a little gutted that this one did not blow me away.

The honey sweet nose is both woody and citrusy at the same time. But you really have to coax the aromas out. If you keep at it you’ll be rewarded with a hint of sweet red melon and a touch of something grassy.

The same honey and oak mixed with white pepper are first to greet the palate followed by a spoonful of marmalade, roasted nuts and butterscotch.

The abrupt finish is a little disappointing. I would have liked to nurse the flavors a bit more but there was none of that.

I don’t mind drinking this one again but I would gladly pass this over if offered the 15 or the 18 year old instead.

Rating: 84

Nikka Yoichi 15

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Distillery/Brand: Nikka Yoichi
Region: Japan
ABV: 45%
Colour: Old Gold

Nose: 24
Taste: 24
Finish: 23
Balance: 23

Review
What is it with the Japanese? They insist on doing everything so perfectly. Just like this 15 year old beauty from the Asian powerhouse that is Nikka.

Such a heady, almost dizzying, array of aromas greet you as you say hello to this beauty from the East. There’s maple syrup covered dark fruits ladled on a stack of hot pancakes, sprinkled with woody cinnamon and then rounded off with a drizzle of sherry infused with subtle peat. Quite arresting actually.

The maple syrup and black pepper on the palate play a woody chocolatey tune that works in perfect harmony with an edgy pinch of cumin. You’ll want to mull this one over for a while.

The long, oily finish sits on your lips for ages forcing you to make smacking sounds every two seconds. This makes you look quite silly in the process.

But that’s OK…

Rating: 94

Bruichladdich – The Organic

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Distillery/Brand: Bruichladdich
Region: Islay
ABV: 46%
Colour: Chardonnay

Nose: 22
Taste: 22
Finish: 21
Balance: 21

Review
Bruichladdich are the ever experimenting single malt brand and, even though, it’s hard to keep track of them all there are few expressions that are below par. The Organic is another example of a decent (not mind blowing, mind you) expression – this one made purely from organic Scottish barley.

The lightly peated nose evokes images of green apples strewn on moist grass as you sit on a wooden porch made damp from the morning dew. Completing the picture is a basket of freshly laundered clothes atop which sits the tiniest bale of hay.

The delivery is full bodied and sweet smacking of honeyed cinnamon, moist lemon slivers and a touch of fennel. All this enveloped in a feathery wisp of smoke.

The long and oily finish is chewy and a little minty though, as it fades, it develops a slightly bitter chalky characteristic.

Rating: 86

Glenlivet Master Distillers Reserve

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Distillery/Brand: Glenlivet
Region: Speyside
ABV: 40%
Colour: Gold

Nose: 22
Taste: 22
Finish: 22
Balance: 22

Review
Let’s start with the fact that there is really no bad Glenlivet. Consistent & classic flavors is what this single malt is known for. So even when they come out with cute marketing gimmicks like this expression it’s something still worth drinking!

But first the nose.

Sweet honey; and quite a strong honey at that. Quite zestfully sweet and delicately floral at the same time. Followed by moist barley in a cereal bowl topped with a whisper of vanilla essence. It’s almost like sitting in a field of pretty white flowers.

The lovely, full bodied, honey delivery is first intertwined with a playful pinch of white pepper. Then a caramel-ish toffee sweetness infused with a not-so-overpowering mint sprig coupled with crushed nuts. Very pleasant.

The medium to long finish is oily with a touch of spice. A lovely Speysider that embodies all that is good about that region.

Rating: 88