Saturday, January 30, 2010

French Toast: The Glenlivet 15yo

The Glenlivet 15yo French Oak Reserve is a Speyside single malt which has been finished (per its name) in Limousin French Oak (similarly used for many Cognacs). This royal marriage is assured given the whiskies onwers, the French alcoholic beverages company Pernod Ricard. Pernod Ricard's brands include single malts from Aberlour, Glendronach and Strathisla, plus the blended Scotches of Ballantines and Chivas, and Jameson Irish whisky.

At first glance we have the packaging which is solid, but nothing amazing. I like the bottle with its traditional dark green glass, it cloaks the colour of the contents. It features the quintessential Glenlivet long-neck, slightly bulging at the centre. The label on the bottle speaks of traditional refinement. By contrast the box within which it is kept is thin and papery, taking away from that refined feel.

A sniff reveals the musty innards. I once attended a wine tasting class and they explained a tasting note referred to as 'wet animal.' It is this musty wet-dog smell associated with old world wines, from regions like Burgundy, and that's what I get on the nose here. The mustiness envelopes a strong, cream and dried fruit richness. The alcoholic fragrances are subtle and for reference the whisky has a 40% ABV (alcohol-by-volume).

The taste compliments the nose; dried fruit and a rich creaminess. These initial flavours fade to a bold vanilla-bean oakiness. Overall, a very smooth dram, but quite heavy on the wood-oak. The heaviness somewhat akin to drinking strongly wooded Chardonnay. A winter whisky for sure, and I highly recommend as a digestive with some fruit 'n nut infused dark chocolate. I don't know how many Saturday nights I sat up late during winter...consuming 'livet 15yo and some Nestle Club chocolate, an awesome match.

The dram-ometer says 5.25 (from 7). Would I buy it again? Yes, a winter dram for sure...but surely next time the 18yo will be in my sights, as I need to verify El Capitan's seven-from-seven rating!