The Spirit of Speyside festival has been happening every year since 1999. This large scale festival held in the largest whisky region in Scotland also includes competitions for best whiskies of the year with various categories. This Glenlivet 18 was the runner up in the 13-20 year old section for example.
For more information on the Spirit of Speyside Festival see http://www.spiritofspeyside.com
The Glenlivet distillery is near Ballindalloch in Moray. This is a large scale producer of whisky which competes with Glenfiddich to be Scotland’s largest producer by case.
The site which operates today was opened in 1859. There were various other distilleries in other locations before this which either burned down or were closed because of production issues. The site at Minmore was designed to be larger to cope with current and potential future demand.
Many other distilleries locally have used the Glenlivet name partially in their own branding. The reason for this is the Glenlivet brand was doing very well in the 19th century and other business owners wanted to capitalise. They were in fact simply ripping the name off in its entirety before, in 1881 George Grant started to sue in court. The court judgement was that Glenlivet would use their name but other local distilleries could hyphenate their real name with “-Glenlivet”. In total 26 distilleries would use this technique to bring brand value on the cheap to their product.
The distillery survived the Great Depression but was mothballed like all other distilleries during the Second World War. This was quite an achievement when so many distilleries never reopened or have had a painful past of boom and bust. Today the distillery is owned by Chivas and is producing 10.5 million litres of alcohol per year over 7 pairs of stills.
The Glenlivet 18 sits in the middle of the core range and is slightly harder to find than the younger and cheaper 12 and 15 year olds. The casks involved include ex-bourbon and ex-sherry. The marketing material also says they have included both first and second fill casks into the recipe. The bottling strength is 43% ABV so just above minimum.
In the UK this retails for around £60 Here
Colour – amber
Nose – very sweet. Sticky sweet so perhaps there are some PX casks in here? plums and very over ripe grapes.
Palate – Cinnamon, orange rinds and oak. The weight of the whisky is about medium so perhaps there is chill-filtering here as well.
Finish – Spicy oak finish with some fruit cake notes. Not very long considering the age of the whisky though.
This is a nice gentle whisky from Glenlivet. There are layers of interest throughout the experience and the nose particularly keeps you interested. The main taste though is slightly too timid and hollow. The price pretty much reflects that so it is a fair compromise I would say. In my opinion, it is one to buy but only if the price does not get inflated too much in the months and years to come.