Jul 072018
 

Signatory has several lines of products, and it seems like we have a new line appearing. Right now, the ‘Small Batch Edition’ appeared in a bottling for the German market. However, it says that it’s edition number one, suggesting a continuation.

Unlike many independent bottlers, vatting a few casks together (OK, you can call them small batches) is something Signatory does across all their ranges. Most of those I’ve seen are two casks, but it’s the same idea. In truth, I think it’s helped the brand deliver over time, as vatting casks of the same vintage and cask type will allow the bottler to smooth out any imperfections a single cask might have.

Signatory Bottles

Photo Credit: whiskyintelligence.com

But this brings me to wonder why we might need yet another line of offerings? Is it the higher strength, at 48.1% ABV (as opposed the 46% of the Un-Chillfiltered Collection)? Perhaps it’s the nature of the casks? Maybe it is the private bottlings for the importers in specific countries?

Whatever the reason, if you prefer a single cask of these, Signatory has a sister cask of the first fill butts (cask #900255) distilled on the same day, available in the Un-Chillfiltered Collection range.

 

Photo Credit: ewhisky.de

Signatory Small Batch Edition #1 –  Glenlivet Vintage 2007, Two First Fill Butts Distilled 10.4.2007 (900251, 900252) + Three First Fill Hogsheads Distilled 27.3.2007 (900195-900197), Bottled 19.3.2018, 2927 Bottles for Kirsch Whisky Import, German Market (48.1% ABV, NCF, NC)

Appearance: Copper, slow legs, thin droplets coming off a sturdy necklace.

Nose: Vanilla sherry of American oak, saffron and cumin, sour cherry candy and toffee. Allspice appears on the nose with a bit of

Palate: Pepper and vanilla, with hints of honey and cinnamon, bitter caramel taken too far on the fire, with a watered down Americano coffee.

Linger: Sweet and peppery, with cardamom and oak. Pepper with a sweetness sits around the gullet.

Conclusion

Set your expectations on American oak, and you will find that this is almost iconic.

Tasting Scotch Whisky bottled for Germany on a small island in the Baltic Sea with three fabulous Finnish friends. It really doesn’t get much better than that 🙂 

Jul 032018
 

There’s a bunch of these 2007 Glenlivet sherry casks hitting the market now, and they’re selling out faster than fresh buns. Indeed, there’s an undeniable thirst in the market for sherry and peat, and distilleries are scrambling to fulfill that need. This is obviously easier with peat, and a little more challenging with sherry.

From time to time, you’ll see batches of ‘sister casks’ hitting the market at the same time. You’ll recall the fabulous flood of 1998 Laphroaigs, the delightful deluge of Ledaig 2004-2005 and the current beautiful bounty of Glenlivet casks from recent years. These add an extra dimension in tasting casks side by side, which I’ve been able to do with some of the Laphroaig and Ledaig releases.

Glenlivet

Photo Credit: theglenlivet.com

This cask was bottled at cask strength of 66.6%, which in this case is too high to drink, and really requires water, and quite a bit of it.

 

Photo Credit: Whiskybase Shop

The Ultimate Glenlivet 2007, cask 900149, ‘Lucifer’s Livet’, Distilled 27.3.2007, Bottled 26.1.2018, Yielded 319 Bottles (66.6% ABV, NCF, NC)

Appearance: Dark mahogany, quick forming thin legs.

Nose: Too strong to really discern above the alcohol, and I’ll get to the water from the start. Sherry sweetness, with sweet dried fruit, gentle cinnamon and a hint of mint. Hints of licorice and clove. With time in the glass, it falls ito a well rounded sherry bomb with a touch of an almost chalky dryness, not typical to a 10 year old.

Palate: wood spices, oak and some prunes mixed with apricot leather, dried orange peel and cooked fruit and clove. There’s also some cooked yellow pears.

Linger: Dried fruit leads the palate, with a warm glow of spices.

Conclusion

Totally satanic at 66.6, it loves water and starts playing well with quite a bit of water, when it becomes a classicly beautiful sherry cask.

Yet another dram shared with my Wonderful Finnish Friends Association  🙂 

May 062018
 

Yesterday’s big news was carried by sctochwhisky.com, that reported from The Spirit of Speyside festival that Glenlivet is launching The Captain’s Reserve, which is a NAS expression, aged in both bourbon and sherry casks, and finished in Cognac casks, and supposed to be tiered above the 15 year old in the range.

At first, it will be available in the UK, then at travel retail and then rolled out into markets.

 

Photo Credit: scotchwhisky.com

This is interesting, because it reminds me of previous wood focused expression, the 13 year old sherry oak matured, for the Taiwan market. There was, of course, The Glenlivet 15 French Oak, a special edition 12 year old First Fill, for the European Market, and now the Cognac finished.  The 13 is not bad for what it is, and the price, in Taiwan is definitely decent. It went a little crazy at auction, but that’s to be expected (at least in today’s market). I found the palate somewhat disappointing, but my malthead expectations might be too high for the intended audience.

The one thing I don’t get, is the ABV. 40%, seriously?  I get that you don’t want to touch the core range. I also get that you offer the Nàdurra expressly for this reason. But this is 2018, deep into the third whisky golden age. Up your game, Glenlivet!

Photo Credit: whiskyauctioneer.com

The Glenlivet 13 Sherry Oak Matured (Taiwan Exclusive) (40%)

Appearance: Dark mahogany, legs are thick and slow.

Nose: Cinnamon and dried fruit, dried figs, cooked prunes, sweet mineral note, coffee and dark chocolate.

Palate: More watery than I’d like, peppery and dry, with some hints of red fruit. It’s slightly bitter. Darn, this is lacking some body.

Linger: Short and dry, woody and peppery with dark chocolate and some black drip coffee.

Conclusion

For 40% it’s decent, and will be solid for an evening with friends, with a nose that delivers what you’d expect, but with a rather disappointing palate. This one really had potential, though!

Jan 252015
 

The Glenlivet story needs no repetition. What is interesting is that The Glenlivet has been steadily growing in it’s piece of the single malt worldwide market share over the past eight years. In a market that’s expanding globally, The Glenlivet has not only increased the number of bottles sold, which is the easy part, but has also gone from an 8.8% share of the global single malt market in 2006, to a 12% share in 2013. That’s a 36% growth. In the corresponding period, incidentally, Glenfiddich declined from 15.3% to 12.7% of the market, a 17% decline in market share.

In just seven years, Glenlivet was able to close an almost 2:1 gap between the brands to about 5%. This push actually started in 2004, when The Glenlivet brand was revamped, and just a decade later it seems like that push for the number one spot was a brilliant move. Along the way, the distillery expanded to it’s current production capacity of 10.5 million liters per year, and the distillery has recently applied to the Moray Council for a license for a further expansion (necessary as the distillery is inside a nature reserve).

Photo Credit: imgkid.com

Photo Credit: imgkid.com

Obviously, the marketing people are doing their jobs quite well at Pernod Ricard, together with a well timed expansion allowing the distillery better planning of existing and newer stock. Also, the wider availability of higher end expressions as well as the expansion of the Nadurra line of higher ABV all play a part in this growth.

Will 2015 be the year in which The Glenlivet takes over the number one spot?

Photo Credit: grandcentralcellars.com.au

Photo Credit: grandcentralcellars.com.au

The Glenlivet 12 (40% ABV)

Appearance: Dark gold, thick and quick legs with some residue on the glass.

Nose: Green apples, honey, fresh baked bread, dusty spice, confectionery notes, a sweeter green fruit – maybe pear, heather. Time brings out more spiced honey.

Palate: Watery mouthfeel with pepper and allspice, honey and sweet fruity notes.

Linger: Spice in the back of the throat, pepper and sweet notes on the tongue in a medium finish.

Conclusion

As with the rest of this series, my criteria is for an entry level whisky, not for candidate entries for the Malt Maniacs’ Awards. As such, it’s smooth and interesting enough to serve as a gateway to greater exploration of the world of whisky. It’s weakness is the palate, which is a little watery, and it’s strength is the linger, which is pleasant.

Would I use this to introduce people to single malts? I would, and as such, it passes the threshold for this series.

Nov 102014
 

This is part 2 of a four part series on the Gordon & MacPhail Private Collection Ultra masterclass at the London Whisky Show. If you didn’t catch part 1,  you can read it here.

The 1952 Glenlivet was chosen by the branch that didn’t make it to London for the show, Ian Urquhart and his son Neil and daughter Jenny. The whisky was presented by whisky writer Jonny McCormick, who also wrote the official tasting notes for G&M.

Photo Credit: Mark Gillespie WhiskyCast.com

This 62 year old started out in a first-fill sherry butt, and spent 17 years in it before being transferred into a sherry hogshead in 1969. I think I’m actually going to score this one as a birth year dram for me 🙂

This barrel produced 69 bottles, and is the second lowest ABV of these four old folks with 43.4%.

The bottles are priced at £6250 each, and some stores, such as The Whisky Exchange, only sell all four together, a purchase that will set you back £25,000.

1952 Glenlivet1952 Glenlivet, G&M Private Collection Ultra (Sherry Hogshead 69133 – since recasking in 1969) 69 Bottles in Total (43.4% ABV, NCF, NC)

Appearance: Bronze, thin legs leave a distinct ring on glass.

Nose: Fresh fruit (hints of the Glenlivet , orange, old leather, apricot jam, a hint of balsamic vinegar and a whiff of smoke.

Palate: Oranges, old leather and dusty spices in a mouth filling and mouth drying delivery.
Linger: Dusty citrus, long orange notes, dryness on the tongue with a “dusty” feel.

Conclusion

 This dram has all that “old library” ancient sherry note I so love. On its own, this would be a total killer. Sadly, as is the way of high end tastings, some amazing drams lose their luster to the even more stunning drams, and those two are coming up in the next two days  🙂