Show rating data charts
Distribution of ratings for this:
Yes, another Glenlivet 12 review. Why, you might ask? Good question. The answer is in three parts as follows:
1) pure self-interest (more on this in a minute); 2) to see if I can't remind myself and others about the "reference" malt; 3) to compare seemingly unfavourable reviews of recent bottlings against an older bottling
I hadn't tried this in a couple of years and I thought I'd give myself a refresher. It's Australian summer at the moment and although it's been quite mild by normal standards, things will heat up again as we pass through the storm season (but without the devastating flooding of early 2011, hopefully). This happens to be a good summery malt, by all reports - a clean, fruity, malty, oaky, very approachable medium-bodied Speyside malt without so much as a whiff of peat or other "unpleasantness" for the un-initiated. It is "THE" reference malt according to many.
To expand on my selfish reason for posting this review, it's purely because it means I can revisit it any time for my own use. Usually, in my head, I attempt to calibrate all single malt tastings against my recollection of this, the Glenlivet 12 year old. In my head, this is supposed to score about 75/100 (plus or minus a few) *, so we'll see if that pans out.
This review is for a bottle date-stamped March 2006 - yes, an older bottling which is designed to be consistent with my recollection of it. Has it changed? We'll see, here goes:
Nose: Sweet honey, toffee apple, fresh and stewed apples and pears, light and fragrant, pleasant in its simplicity. With water: floral notes emerge, malt and a softer honey than before become prominent.
Taste: Sweetness hits first, exactly as the nose promised. Really surprising how sweet this is actually, I don't quite remember it that way. Malt and oak spice in the middle, marrying very well with the sweetness as to balance it out. Oak spice at the end intensifies and then mellows as held in the mouth, a great mouthfeel by the way, quite well rounded. With water: Mellows all round, didn't detect any new flavours, just subtle variation, silky smooth. Some can taste the apple in this, I can't, even with water. It's in the nose for sure, but maybe my tastebuds are defective!
Finish: Oak spice crescendos and then falls away, leaving a not unpleasant spice residue in a short-medium length finish. The underlying malt lingers a while before fading.
Balance: There really isn't much to fault here in terms of overall balance, although the only thing I might say is that the sweetness could be toned down just a smidge in the nose and on the palate. I did somehow expect some caramel to intrude in the nose or the taste, but I didn't experience that - the sweetness I got was more honeyed sweetness. Pretty good.
So there it is. My refresher in the "reference" malt that will probably see me through my entire year of tasting other malts. It was pretty close (if not a little better) than what I expected from my recollection of it in years passed. Next time I'll try a recent bottling and see if my thoughts change.
Is this a complex whisky? No. Is it a great whisky? No. Is it enjoyable? YES! A refreshing, approachable dram for any time of day. A simple but elegant whisky that really does, at least for me, epitomise what Scotch malt whisky is all about and why I love the "water of life" so much.
- There are various 100 point systems in use for whisky tasting. Some, like me, see 75/100 as the cutoff between an average and good whisky, with "very good" starting around 80, great 85, excellent 90 and superstar 95+