It doesn’t happen often that I get to review a Glenlivet. I’m not entirely sure why that is because there’s plenty of their booze out there, but it’s just one of those big brands that I somehow never drink. Glenfiddich and Macallan are others, although Macallan is, I think, slightly more available on the indie market, albeit expensive.
A while ago, Marc Pendlebury, the proprietor of the Whiskybrother shop in Johannesburg (their Twitter account), South Africa, asked me if I would be interested in reviewing their own single cask Glenlivet bottling, from Signatory. I guess the question in this message was redundant since he could have just asked for my address right away. Of course that peaks my interest!
There’s several reasons for that:
- I find it cool when a whisky buddy becomes a professional by opening his own shop
- It’s a single cask by Signatory
Signatory have been on a roll lately with one cracker after another, at least the ones I have tried.
- It’s a Glenlivet
As said, I don’t try them often. Not nearly enough at least.
- Free booze 😉
This particular one is matured in an Oloroso Butt and yielded 413 bottles. I was surprised to find that South Africa uses 750ml bottles, like the United States. Then again, for some obscure reason the spirit bottle size in Europe changed away from the global standard in 1992. We’re the deviants here. (Trivia: This only applies to spirits. Wine, and big beer bottles are still 750ml)
Well, it’s Oloroso for sure! Loads of dark fruity sherry on the nose. Christmas cake, with candied orange. Some dried plums and dates. Some apricot too, I think. A minor note of polished furniture, so oak and leather, and some wax. Quite some candied orange in there, and maybe some milk chocolate.
The palate is surprisingly gentle, sweet and fruity at first, with some added dryness and kick from the alcohol after a second or two. The oak is rather dry and it takes some time for the sherry to be more identifiable. The orange notes are back, as are the dates. It’s quite syrupy but also brings some heat, which is a nice combination. I think I’m also getting some cappuccino notes, but I’m not sure about that. Coffee flavored chocolate maybe.
The finish goes right back to the huge Oloroso notes I also had on the nose. Massively fruity with the oak and dryness playing second violin here. It’s sweet, it’s quite fiery too, but I’m liking this! A rather long and fruity finish.
This is close to being over-sherried, but in the end the whisky luckily stands up for itself. It brought some oak, dryness, and fire to this otherwise sweet and fruity dram. Without that, it might have fallen flat, but this way it’s pretty awesome!
A good pick from Marc and Signatory (and some friends of his, I assume). This is a very tasty whisky, with massive Oloroso notes and a recognizable Speyside characther.
Glenlivet 1998, 15yo, 54.8%, Oloroso Sherry Butt, 413 bottles, Signatory for Whiskybrother. Not sure on the price, but I’ll ask Marc
Full disclosure: This sample was given to me free of charge by the Whiskybrother shop. I do honestly love this. Thanks guys!