Whisky Connosr
Buy Whisky Online

Glenlivet Founder's Reserve

Average score from 6 reviews and 10 ratings 80

Glenlivet Founder's Reserve

Product details

  • Brand: Glenlivet
  • Bottler: Distillery Bottling
  • ABV: 40.0%

Shop for this

What next?

  • Add to cabinet
  • Add to wish list
Glenlivet Founder's Reserve

On ice at Intercontinental Hotel, Madrid, sipping spring water along. It pours pale golden with green shades and oily streaks. Mild aromas of grain (mainly corn; barley and wheat too), some banana. Mouthfeel is powerful and dry. Taste is rather mild (which the nose foresaw) with umami and mild tannins. Boozy, warm finish in the surprisingly long swallow.

@RikS Ratings are inherently subjective. And it takes some time to “get to know” any particular reviewer’s scale. For example, @markjedi rates lower (in general) than I do. No big deal. He’s got a much wider “tasting experience” than I do....By reading his assessments and adding 3-4 points, I often get something close to what I would score that whisky.....if our tastes converge on that particular expression. Which it doesn’t always. Clear as mud, right? I also know that I can rely on @Victor ‘s assessments of bourbon to match my own pretty closely about 80% of the time. If he likes or loves a bourbon, I’d probably buy it blind.


I got this little 5cl sample for free in my last delivery of Ocado, so I thought I'd take down a few notes for those that may have seen that it's regularly on sale at the supermarket and wonder if it's worth it. (Spoiler alert: it's not).

Nose: wood. spice. pronounced sweetness. nutmeg and clove. fresh unripened tropical fruit, green papaya.

Palate: first nothing... then some prickling spice. acetone yuck. barley sugar. some more wood spice. Quite nice viscosity, sadly coupled with not so great taste elements. more wood.

Finish: short and woody. Slight sourness, but faint. Some lingering nutmeg / cinnamon / clove spice.

This isn't the worst I've had, I think. That said, if you've been eyeing this one wondering if it's worth it at the regularly offered £22-24, the answer is no. At retail £35, NO. Emphatically.

This feels 'made cheap', compared to 'sometimes available cheap'. Sorry, that acetone note really irked me. For the same price, or a few quid more if you're in the UK, you can pick up a Glenmorangie 10, a Laphroaig QC, an Aberlour 10/12, a Highland Park 12 or a Johnnie Walker Green - all of which sweep the floor with this Glenlivet.

I tried it once. Never again unless I hear it has turned 180.

From what I've had of Glenlivet Founder's Reserve 77 points seems generous. I had some Glenlivet 12 yo at a tasting with Founder's Reserve once. The Founder's Reserve made the 12 yo look great by comparison. And Glenlivet 12 yo is pretty tame stuff. Tame, but not bad. Founder's Reserve by contrast keeps some pretty tawdry flavours in its laundry basket of a finish. I'll take the OB 12 yo any day of the day, week, month, and year over this stuff. And that coming from someone who has never ever bought a single bottle of any Glenlivet.


Everyone who reviewed the Glenlivet Founder’s reserve got dragged into the NAS vs. Age Statement argument. I prefer not to get involved: no angry rants or sycophant flattery in this review. I’d just like to scrutinise this bottle on its own merits, not on its affiliation with the Glenlivet 12. So what do we know about the Founder’s reserve? Well it is the new entry level dram from the Glenlivet distillery, bottled at the bare minimum 40%. Little else is known, which saddens me a bit. The devil is the detail so I would very much like to learn which cask was used in the process (Bourbon, Sherry, Virgin, 1st fill, refill, ASB, Hogsheads, butts,..), etc… Let’s see if we can find it out for ourselves.

Description: No age statement release from Glenlivet, bottled at 40.0% ABV.

Nose: a light and pleasing floral nose: red apples, a lot of vanillin, butter, baking flower, with a hint of Ricola lemon mint.

Mouth: light bodied, dry and a little bitter. A shallow profile comprised of light peppery notes, strong young oak tannins, honey and green apples.

Finish: very short, vanillin with touches of pepper from the oak.

Verdict: it walks like a malt, talks like a malt, why all the hate? Its main selling point the nose, which is lovely. The downside is the palate that betrays its young age and feels a bit washed out, but we’ve grown to expect this from entry level malts. An easy evening sipper, very presentable and a good introductory single malt. As for the cask, I believe it has some sherry influence, but the abundance of vanillin and pepper reveals young bourbon or even virgin oak casks were used.

Personally I tend to find Glenlivets to light for my taste so I'll probably never have this unless I am treated to it somewhere lacking options. However I enjoyed your review and I want to thank you and recognize that you brought some nuance into a fairly biased topic. The ''founder's reserve'' tend to get shot down on here, often I suspect by people who might haven't even tried it.

Now this is not me pointing fingers here, not at you @Nozinan, nor anyone else. Just a friendly observation.

@OlJas Came across the 8yo reference in two reviews, so it is possible. @Alexsweden No Glenlivet fan either, but got this one and the 18yo for x-mas and bought a Cadenhead Glenlivet - Minmore for myself, so I'll be writing a lot more about Glenlivet in the future


This is the new NAS Glenlivet - not sure if it is meant to replace the popular 12 Year Old, or if it has just been added to the range. It comes wrapped in a copy of the original license to distill, issued in 1824 to founder George Smith, and contained in a box with a nice eye-catching blue colour. Not sure why it's called Founder's Reserve, as it neither belongs to the founder (who died over a hundred years ago), nor is it from reserve stocks (I'm sure they have this stuff a-runnin' off the still at breakneck speed). Ah, marketing.

The colour is a medium gold. On the nose there is crisp barley, green apples, underripe bananas, pineapple and citrus notes such as orange and lemon. Background hints of vanilla, caramel and milk chocolate speak to well-used bourbon barrels. A bit grassy, more so with water. Rather quiet but pleasant in a timid way.

The palate is quite nondescript, with vague traces of malt, orange, apple and spice. A bit of honey as well, with herbs and more vanilla. But all these notes are very muted - definitely needs more oomph. Water doesn't help the palate, making things rather spirity and astringent. Disappointing, and speaks to its youth.

The finish is mouth-watering with more green apple, banana skin and a bit of oak. The Glenlivet 12 Year Old is known for being very light and unassuming (I like it as a nice starter to a tasting, or aperitif - it's a little underrated, in my opinion). But if you think that one is light, wait until you try this. If the 12 is dialled up to a 7, this one is down around 4. It has many of the same notes that make it unmistakably Glenlivet, but it just needs a bit more. As someone once wrote, there is no there there.

Ha - I like your wordplay! My score might seem generous only because for enjoyment I like the light, fruity style of Glenlivet. And there are some fantastic Glenlivets out there like the 15, the 25 and some indie bottlings. It had elements I enjoyed but yes - underwhelming.

@talexander A very accurate review here and I agree 100% with your thoughts. I enjoyed this one and you happen to have come within 1pt the score I gave it some months ago at 77. If only I could write my thoughts this well.



Please don't misunderstand, I would rather have a good dram instead of or alongside (not in) a soda. But as I've mentioned before, aside from the occasional tasting I attend, I'm a bit of a lightweight, and my lifestyle does not lend itself to more heavy consumption of spirits.

I don't think that it's in my interest to regularly have more than 3-4 drams a week (personal choice, not medical opinion). It takes minimal effort to achieve this because between my job and my family, the opportunity does not present itself that often. I'm lucky if I get 2 nights in a week to have a dram, and I don't necessarily feel like it those times. And I like to linger over my whisky, so more than one in an evening is a rarity.

This is a long-winded way of saying I don't drink as often as many others, so unless I am at a tasting or spirit festival, where the goal is to try as much as possible, I am looking for 85/100 plus whiskies each time. I don't want to waste my opportunities on anything but the the finest spirits. Ad by finest, I use a broad enough definition to include reasonably priced offerings, not unobtainium. It doesn't have to be rare or expensive, just good quality.

This whisky will never make the grade for me. For people who like the profile and have more opportunities and are looking for a simple dram for variety, by all means. Just not for me.

I for one found the founders reserve slightly better than the 12, it's a good "whenever" drink, it's one you can give as a "fancy a quick dram while your here" drink.. People seem to forget it is an entry level bottle in the liver core range, it's never going to be a world beater. When on offer it's a very good priced bottle..


While ago, I started a discussion about this Founder's Reserve replacing their 12YO expression in the UK (probably in other parts of the market as well in near future).

I decided to give it a chance, even though I didn't like the news. This Glenlivet started out pretty well, but with oxidation, it started to get worse. Still, an okay whisky like my score implies, but not near its predecessor.

And don't give it much air time like my title suggests!

Nose: Sweet with fruits and malted barley. Very restrained, though sharp –young age does show. Notes of citrus and apricot.

Taste: Starts with bitter peach peel. There is pineapple present, but not as delicious as the 12YO’s notes. Toffee is present as well. Thick and smooth body.

Finish: Smooth and fast with fruits, sugared barley and oak. Aftertaste is pretty good but too quick.

Balance: Smooth and sweet dram.

You're too generous with your praise. While I was never a fan of the 12 I didn't mind it that terribly. But this replacement is just terrible.

@MaltActivist I liked the 12yo very much so I guess that's why I'm being generous with this Founder's Reserve. They do have some similar notes. But still, the 12yo was much better...

Popular Glenlivet whiskies