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Glenlivet Master Distiller's Reserve

Average score from 4 reviews and 6 ratings 80

Glenlivet Master Distiller's Reserve

Product details

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

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Glenlivet Master Distiller's Reserve

So this wasn’t done in ideal conditions, as I tasted this whisky (two 50ml samples) from a plastic cup on a flight from Toronto to Edmonton.

  • Nose (undiluted): a bit of oak, malted barley, a suggestion of grapes, some hazelnuts, some milk chocolate
  • Palate(undiluted): thin (smoooooooth?) barley, malt bread, milk chocolate
  • Finish: relatively short, with barley grain lingering, and just a hint of spirity bitterness on the tail end.

So this is not a terrible whisky, but it’s not spectacular either. It reminds me of McClelland’s Speyside Single Malt. This is something I’d drink if my wife or my parents bought it for me as a gift, but I’m not likely to spend my own money on it. I’d guess most of what’s in here is 8 years or younger. It’s an easy drinking whisky, and if the price isn’t crazy, it might be a decent whisky to introduce someone to single malt in the “typical” unsherried Speyside style, but it’s pretty one-dimensional. On the bright side, it took the edge off the stress of flying.

@BlueNote I’m downtown on Jasper Ave without a car, so I’m fairly limited in where I can go. Maybe I’ll buy a bunch more minis of this Glenlivet....unlikely, but you never know.

I had it on our WestJet flight to London. I thought it was a slight improvement on Founders Reserve. It was actually served in stemless wine glasses and the pours were generous.


Let's start with the fact that there is really no bad Glenlivet. Consistent & classic flavors is what this single malt is known for. So even when they come out with cute marketing gimmicks like this expression it's something still worth drinking!

But first the nose.

Sweet honey; and quite a strong honey at that. Quite zestfully sweet and delicately floral at the same time. Followed by moist barley in a cereal bowl topped with a whisper of vanilla essence. It's almost like sitting in a field of pretty white flowers.

The lovely, full bodied, honey delivery is first intertwined with a playful pinch of white pepper. Then a caramel-ish toffee sweetness infused with a not-so-overpowering mint sprig coupled with crushed nuts. Very pleasant.

The medium to long finish is oily with a touch of spice. A lovely Speysider that embodies all that is good about that region.


The Master Distiller's Reserve. Rather a grand name for a bottle that only set me back $65 (AUD). This is a cheeky (and i would say young) triple matured number from The Glenlivet including, sherry, American and traditional oak casks (i though sherry was traditional?).

The presentation is a bit over the top really, there is the usual box which is generally blue with some gold and calligraphy-ied signatures and quotes and all sorts of good stuff. Then when you open the box the bottle is for some reason further encased by a paper bag with more calligraphy and names. I'm sure that seemed like a good idea at the time......

Colour: a deep-ish amber, or burnished copper as some call it

  • Nose: sherry quite a creamy sherry, honey, summer fruits and maybe hazelnut. With water the bourbon cask comes through more, adds some vanilla and spice to the nose and the floral notes come out.

  • Pallet: full bodied, again creamy sherry more floral flavours, very light spice at the back. With water again the bourbon is allowed to shine and again vanilla comes through, spices are also more prominent.

  • Finnish: spices from bourbon casks come through a bit more, slight tang. With water, dies quickly, tad anaemic due to chill filtration.

  • Mark Neat: 7.8/10. With Water: 7.6/10

Overall: Well its not bad i suppose. A good beginners dram, but its a bit annoying. The water does very good things for the nose and the pallet however it kills the finish which is perfectly adequate neat. If you were to have it neat you would have to make sacrifices on the nose and pallet.

I do think that Glenlivet could do this (triple matured number) very well if they put some effort and better product into it


This is the first Single Malt I ever purchased for myself. I got it after tasting it at the duty free in Heathrow. So, I guess it makes sense that this will be my first review.

Since I am new at this, I will include the Glenlivet's write up with my own comments. Enough preamble: lets get to it!

The color:

Distillery - Bright gold

Training Wheels - Goldish orange, like a good orange marmalade. Deeper in color than 12 yo Glenmorgangie.

The Nose:

Distillery - Full and Bursting with ripe fruity pear and soft fudge, 'incredibly sweet and smooth.

Training Wheels - Sweetness and oranges are the first things I notice. There is a warm, gentle spice scent that becomes more noticible when you add a drop or two of water. Pear and a mild apple comes through as more of means to deliver the spice, than as a distinct scent. Mulled cider comes to mind. Mulled orange juice anyone?


Distillery - Fruity pear with spicy orange with a spicy marmalade tang. Slightly dry.

Training Wheels - The mulled apple and orange cider taste really stands out. The spices are really mild, and orange comes out more than the orange to spice balance suggested in the nose. As I move it around my mouth, there is something about the sensation that makes the scotch seem heavier and 'lumpier' than it is. The marmalade analogy is very apt. As a texture guy, this is a very nice bonus.


Distillery - Marzipan and Hazelnuts

Training Wheels - There is a mild pepper finish; think of how a strong Shiraz finishes for you wine drinkers out there.

Conclusion- If you like sweet and mildly spicy, this scotch is right up your alley. As a new whisky drinker, this was a good choice to start my walk in whisky. I really enjoy this scotch, and I would buy it again, but it is not the nicest I have ever had. On that basis I give it an 85.

I look forward to hearing your comments, on the review and the whisky.

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