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Glenlivet 12 Year Old Illicit Still

All distillers should take note

7 1385

@casualtortureReview by @casualtorture

2nd May 2022


  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

I picked this up after reading a few good reviews. A 12yo at 48%, NCF and natural color? We're already off to a good start.

Neat in a Glencairn.

Nose: A fresh, fruity nose that gives pleasant notes of banana, honey, vanilla, pear, and apple. This then gives way to a cereal note. A second whiff really makes the honey and vanilla seem more pronounced than the fruit. Longer in the glass, the fruit notes get a tad darker (red apple, blackberry), and the honey a little richer. It's a Speyside nose to be sure. Fruity and fresh.

Palate: All the familiar notes are there. The apple, the pear, the berries, the vanilla, the honey. What you would expect from a 12 year old entry level Speyside whisky. They're just better. They're deeper, more rounded, more distinguished, more fulfilling. I'm sure many of us have said, "Wow this is a nice whisky, but instead of 40%, this would be great at (insert abv)." Well, here we are. And yes, it's better.

Finish: Honey, vanilla and fruit finish things off.

Overall: Every single distiller should scrap their watery thin 40%/43% chill-filtered entry level 12yo whiskies and do this. Serious props to Glenlivet. I even found this for cheaper than their regular 12yo. THIS should be the standard for 12 year old, entry level whisky. I'll keep this on my shelf as long as they keep it on store shelves at a reasonable price.

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Nozinan commented

Nice review. This is one I would love to get a bottle of…

17 days ago 2Who liked this?

Victor commented

@casualtorture thank you for your nice review.

This sounds just about exactly as I would expect it to be. Less dilution = more flavour. A simple proposition. True for Glenfiddich 15, 40/43% vs Glenfiddich 15 DE 51%; true for Glenlivet 12 IS, 48% vs Glenlivet 12, 40%.

I've never had a taste of The Glenlivet 12 Illicit Still, but from first hearing about it I immediately expected it to be good. It's not that the flavours are bad with these OBs from the mass produced mall brands--the flavours are just generally too weak, and the texture can be downright watery. 48% ABV is moving into the ball park for good flavour density. For my taste 48% would be just scratching the lower edge of good for flavour density. But that scratch can be adequately therapeutic to alleviate the flavour itch.

16 days ago 5Who liked this?

casualtorture commented

@Victor a simple proposition for us. Seems to be a difficult one for many brands to understand. I would love to see how much money they're saving per ABV% dilution, just to put a number on it.

15 days ago 3Who liked this?

Victor commented

@casualtorture it is important to remember that the mass market products sold at low ABV also represent commodity alcohol. There is a very very large market of those who don't much explore the nuances of taste and smell but want something to put into their sodas, juices, and cocktails for the alcohol effect.

The brands get around to catering to those, like us, who relish the fine points of taste and smell only when they are convinced that there is a profitable market for them to do so. They will still be selling commodity alcohol to the masses even if all the connoisseurs should disappear from the earth tomorrow. We are a minority group, so we get a minority share of their attention.

15 days ago 4Who liked this?

Nozinan commented

I would suggest it is more lucrative to sell higher ABV products. You can charge a little more for the extra ABV, you use less water so it is good for the environment, and you spend less on glass for bottles because the volume sold is lower...

15 days ago 1Who liked this?

RianC commented

@Nozinan @casualtorture - in the UK, if I remember correctly, taxes on alcohol are what keeps the abv down. And, apparently, they are going to be even higher moving forwards ...

14 days ago 0

casualtorture commented

@RianC Of course they are. Government does what government does....here I believe we get double shafted. A federal tax and then a state tax.

"The federal tax on spirits is $13.50 per proof gallon, (which is defined as one gallon of liquid that is 50% alcohol). For wine, the rates vary based on alcohol content and can range from $1.07 per gallon on products with 16% or less alcohol to $3.40 for sparkling wines.)"

Then Tennessee, which is middle of the road from what I understand as far as liquor tax: "Tennessee's general sales tax of 7% also applies to the purchase of liquor. In Tennessee, liquor vendors are responsible for paying a state excise tax of $4.40 per gallon, plus Federal excise taxes, for all liquor sold."

The older I get, the more I agree with Hayek and Friedman.

13 days ago 2Who liked this?

Nozinan commented

There's nothing wrong with paying a little tax. It's not the tax that's the problem. It's what it's spent on.

If they use that money to pave the road between your home and the liquor store, it's all good!

12 days ago 4Who liked this?

paddockjudge commented

@casualtorture, @RianC , in Ontario the consumer in a restaurant pays for an alcoholic product that is taxed nine times, ten times if a local or municipal tax is levied. poop bomb boom

12 days ago 4Who liked this?

paddockjudge commented

@casualtorture, Pareto had it right, we (the insignificant many) pay for the lavish lifestyles of the privileged few.

12 days ago 3Who liked this?

Nozinan commented

@paddockjudge Exactly what I would like to change... Do you think if I win I could be Minister of Malt?

10 days ago 2Who liked this?

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