Monday, September 15, 2014

Short Of The Mark - The Glenlivet Exotic Limited Edition

The Glenlivet Guardians Chapter Limited Edition
Last year saw the world wide tasting of the Glenlivet Guardians Chapter Limited Edition whiskies with a official world launch here in Sydney, Australia. Effectively The Glenlivet created 3 new expressions and invited members of the Guardians Chapter and public to vote on which one would make the final release. These expressions were titled: Classic; Revival; Exotic. There could be only one. Fellow club member The Alchemist and myself were invited to attend the first public tasting of a selection of whiskies. Our experiences on the night were not fantastic as the food was poorly matched (though delicious in its own right) and the tasting was held after our pallets were tainted considerably by the meal. Find out more about that experience on the post: And here's the rub – The Glenlivet Guardians Chapter Launch. Let's not dwell on that experience anymore than we have to.

The winner chosen via crowd-sourced votes was to be The Exotic. A richly coloured whisky that saw maturation in hogsheads, american oak and Spanish ex-sherry butts If you would like to purchase this limited release it can now be found at your local Vintage Cellars at a price of $99 AU though its original RRP was $114.99 AU. The bottle won't be hard to miss on the shelves as it sports a distinctive baby blue packaged with supporting cork seal and badging. It is noted that The Glenlivet Master Distiller, Alan Winchester, developed these expressions as a way of challenging consumers to 'provoke debate' over which whisky should make its market as an official release.

Recently our club was supplied a sample bottle of the chosen release to once again try in isolation so it made an appearance at the most recent D.T.W.C. tasting night. Unfortunately little interest was to be drawn from the bottle after tasting confirming my own suspicions relating to its success.

Before delivering my own notes a personal disclaimer is appropriate. I love The Glenlivet and all expressions I have encountered from the distillery. The Glenlivet 12yo is a staple in my whisky shelf while at any other time a genuine appreciation of all releases by the distillery is solid. That is until now. I did not vote for this release finding it spicy and over sherried. I have lived in hope against all odds it was my palate that had let me down on the night. I was wrong.

The Glenlivet Exotic
The Glenlivet Guardians Chapter Exotic Limited Edition
Distiller: The Glenlivet
Location / Region: Speyside, Scotland
Alcohol / ABV: 48.7%

Nose: Burnt honey, boiled  lollies, apricots, rasins, heaped oranges and wood spice. A good deal of heat effects the nose but it holds a lot of depth.

Taste: Soft and cushioning at first before a raging fire of hot and spicy citrus braces the tongue and upper pallet leaving little for the tastes buds to work on. I really fail to pull any flavour out of what was on the nose except a sting orange peal zestiness.

Finish: Long and dry becoming metallic and coppery. Bitterness then builds on the tastes buds while a heat is fuelled in the gut.

Honestly I don't get it. I really don't get how this was chosen by so many to be released. It is a polar opposite to what I have always found The Glenlivet to be. Crowd sourcing has some fundamentally clear failures which can all be defined in this release. Luckily this is a limited edition and won’t see a lot of shelf play. I really hoped I could have secured some samples of the other two whiskies that were tasted inline with this. My choice on the night was the Revival. I felt The Revival was much more inline with The Glenlivet. It sported a young, feisty vibrancy but still one could say "Yes that is The Glenlivet". I won’t be surprised to find The Revival being reserved for a limited release under a different guise at some stage in the near future.

For me when I want to grab a bottle of Glenlivet this will fall at the bottom of my list. The Glenlivet make some absolute cracker whiskies. They have a place. They have a profile. The have a proven history. Unfortunately this whisky fell terrible short of the mark. If I was to give a dram then it would be 3.5 out of 7. I think this whisky is flawed primarily due to concept marketing. In my opinion let us leave these release decisions up to the Master Distiller's as that is what they are there for.

The Baron