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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?