Glenlivet, Founder’s Reserve
Well as promised on the blog last week, indeed I am back in the saddle so to speak with a backlog of tasting notes on Whisky from around the World. The end of 2016 and the majority of 2017 as of late has been insanely busy and hasn’t helped my blogging hobby which is always the very first thing that goes out the window for me. No, it doesn’t help get followers but I don’t have a choice. However, now that my free time is mine again (except for a new puppy in the house terrorizing me all day long) I have time to put posts together.
One of the wonderful things that I got this year at Christmas (yeah I know that’s like 4 or 5 months ago) was a %100 recycled paper Scotch Journal from Mule Mother Books. It writes on well with ink, pencil not that great but functional. The pages are sturdy and they have categories and subheadings on each page as a template similar to what I tend to take notes with except it includes a box for color, not something I terribly care about (re: E150 coloring). I write, natural or not, or what I suspect it is.
Since the new year, I have not had much time to stock up on my shelf until now which I have added mostly non-single malt scotches too. Mostly because I knew I wouldn’t’ get back into this until the Spring, and well, in all honesty, Single-malts are just too pricey here right now. I have stocked up on some great Irish and Bourbons and carry my trusty journal with me to take notes everywhere I go.
My interest in mixology also is building as I read online and try and think of what sort of cocktails I would like to start working on. I like old style cocktails, spirit forward things like an Old Fashion (perhaps the most basic idea). Most people around here don’t do cocktails, they prefer their Jack and Coke, well actually they prefer their Rum and Cokes. Nothing wrong with a Rum and Coke (they are delicious) but for me, doesn’t cut it. Plus, I don’t drink soda.
Anyway, back to the reviews.
From now on, I’m keeping the blogs shorter and leave the long trailing history stories to the experts with YouTube channels. This week I’m looking at what I’d consider a somewhat controversial dram, because in many markets the much beloved Glenlivet 12-Year-Old has been replaced with this finely marketed, sleek looking Founder’s Reserve. GFR came out late in 2014 in some markets, and I was a skeptic. Ultimately it was because I have a soft spot for the Glenlivet 12 YO as really the first single malt that I took a liking to. That being said, I find the 12-year-old now, somewhat simple and 2 dimensional and not all that exciting. That being said, what you can say for the 12 is that it is expertly crafted, consistent and it is tasty and a great dram for any occasion.
The GFR is, for me a step in the wrong direction. It’s perfectly drinkable, well marketed and for someone getting into Single Malt scotch this might be a great way to get someone into the hobby (or habit) with something that is ‘inoffensive’ and not particularity challenging to drink. Picking up flavors and aromas is easy and adding water does change the profile. This is, in many ways an educational drink. In some ways, this was my motivation in terms of getting back into the Blog, not only that but it was the first Dram I put in my journal this year, so you know, remove the difficult decisions, just go in order of what I’ve tasted!
It’s bottled at %40, the minimum. It’s no doubt colored and certainly is chill-filtered. The body is light, not very viscous, and if you decide to add any water to this, be very… very careful. This one will drown really easily, I’m talking drops here.
On the nose, you get those classic Glenlivet notes of green apples, pears, ripe banana. There’s a grainy note that runs through it for sure. I pick up the slightest nip of peat on the nose, not really very much at all for your peat haters. There is fruity notes from orange zest and a little bit of honey and toffee. With water, sweeter non-fruit notes shine through with the most interesting one being White Chocolate or a slightly white wine note, let’s just say grape. It comes off as young, somewhat rough around the edges. It’s well made but it’s not clean and crisp, not what I think of when I think Glenlivet, something is missing.
After venturing into the pallet, flavors mirror the nose. It’s maltier on the mouth than the nose, lots of green apples, red apple and plums and a little bit of spice, mostly a peppery note. Other than that there is little change in flavor. The texture is watery and not very substantial. The finish has a nice bitter tinge to it from young casks, it doesn’t linger very long.
I think that in many ways this would be a single malt best used for higher end cocktail mixing rather than something to sit and contemplate over a long period of time. It might be a good way to start an evening of tasting. Perhaps for your friends who come to your place that would like to try a Scotch whisky but are inexperienced, you don’t want to pour that more expensive, higher end bottle for them that you’re saving for something special… this might do the trick.
Next time on CWL, a review of a great Bourbon from Heaven Hill distillery!