Glenlivet Alpha

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Distillery/Brand: Glenlivet | Region: Speyside | ABV: 50% | Color: Pale Straw
Nose: 22 | Taste: 21 | Finish: 22 | Balance: 22 | Rating: 87

Review
Glenlivet decided to play a little game with us whisky noobs last year. It released a whisky with absolutely no information. Nothing on the type of cask. Nothing on the age. Also it released only 3500 bottles worldwide. And decided it would be a good idea to let people come up with their own theories.

Not a bad stunt if you ask. Though certainly not a unique one. Jim Mcewan holds that distinction with the Bruichladdich Black Art and Blacker Still. A secret he’s yet to reveal.

Glenlivet, though, made everyone wait six weeks before revealing how this whisky was made through a video on their website. Though before you could get to the reveal you had to play a little game trying to identify flavors and aromas before the video could actually be played. A fun little game if you ask me.

The video then finally revealed that the Alpha was a No Age Statement (how disappointing) whisky and without any chill filtration or added color (no real surprises there).

What is really interesting is that the casks used for maturation were actually new wood casks that previously held single malt whisky! I don’t think anyone has ever done that before. It is still typically a Glenlivet, though, and I’m not sure I found anything really different about this.

My sample is from a brand new bottle and served at 50%

Nose: Very sweet. Vanilla. Pudding. Citrus. Lemon. Hard boiled sweets. Wild flowers. Fresh grass. Pineapple. It has all the calling cards of the distillery but none of the complexity. I found it quite uncomplicated. Still not bad, though.

Palate: Spice. Pineapple. Honey. Apricots. Pear. Pudding. Sweets. Lemon. Citrus. Honey. Vanilla. Interesting palate. Feels young to me. Has quite a spicy zing to it. The fruits come out next. But once again not the most complex whisky I’ve drunk.

Finish: Medium. Spicy sweet. Hint of vanilla. Very strong oak.

This is a greatly presented whisky. I like all the marketing shenanigans that went behind putting it out there.

Did it blow me away? No.

Am I glad I have it sitting on my shelf? Why not?

Rating: 87

Glenlivet 25 Year old XXV

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Distillery/Brand: Glenlivet
Region: Speyside
ABV: 43%
Colour: Young Sauternes

Nose: 23
Taste: 21
Finish: 21
Balance: 21

Review
There are some whiskies that entrance you for some reason and for me The Glenlivet XXV was one of them. It was gifted to me by a friend a couple of years ago and, for sentimental reasons, I chose not to open it. Instead two years later I purchased a new one intending to open it with the same friend as a New Years treat.

Big mistake.

Looks like I’m a victim of some serious batch variance and happened to snag a less than stellar bottling. This one was bottled on January 21, 2013 and bears the Batch# 0910A. So have a look before you decide to shell out US$350 for a bottle.

Nose: The nose is extremely promising coming at you with an almost bourbon like quality. Strong citrus layered in dark honey, boiled sweets and butterscotch with some Quality Street chocolates. But then a disconcerting whiff of fresh linen which can only lead me to believe the presence of sulphur. It’s not terribly off-putting but it certainly does not belong there.

Palate: The palate. The disappointing palate. Watery. Mediocre. The same chocolate and citrus but now some nuts, cinnamon and banana. But something a touch off. The sulphur? Maybe

Finish: The finish is goes up in a puff of mild dark pepper leaving me shaking my head in disappointment.

Not the best way to round off the year.

Rating: 86