The Glenlivet: Rediscovering the U.S. Best-Seller
Posted on Sunday, Aug 9, 2009 at 07:49 PM
Okay, we'll admit it -- we're a bit jaded. When you spend so much time scavenging the globe for rare, exotic whiskies, it's easy to view a distillery like Glenlivet as... well, a bit commonplace. After all, there's basically a bottle of Glenlivet 12 on every bar in America (not to mention the world). Which is why, when LAWS was asked if we'd like to have a tasting with Glenlivet brand ambassador Rick Edwards, our response was a qualified "Okay, but bring the good stuff!"
Which, in retrospect, wasn't quite a fair thing to say. As Rick walked us through the core expressions (12yr, 15yr, 18yr), there was discussion in the group that these whiskies shouldn't be passed over so easily. Sure, they aren't the kick-in-the-pants-monsters that are bombarding the market these days (e.g. Supernova), but that's not what Glenlivet's aiming for. Theirs is a lighter-style single malt, which isn't to say that it's devoid of flavor (it isn't). And at $22 a bottle, how can you really complain about Glenlivet 12? We already knew that the 16yr Nadurra is a solid cask-strength whisky at a great price (around $50), but a few of us "re-discovered" the 18yr, marking it as a pleasant sipper and a bargain given the age.
Oh yeah, and then there was the upper-range stuff -- we truly loved it. The main argument was whether the 1969 Cellar Collection was more enjoyable than the 1964 Cellar Collection, and that's splitting hairs. The 1972 Cellar Collection was the most "un-Glenlivity" of the bunch, with complexity and spice that some found medicinal wisps in, to the delight of some and annoyance of others. Of course, the price is the easy complaint to make about the Cellar Collection... and if it's "worth it" depends on who's asking and who's paying... but since we weren't doing either as far as these beauties were concerned, we just enjoyed reveling in some truly stellar whiskies.