A while ago I visited my liquor store in Bergen op Zoom and did roll into a talk with a fellow whisky enthusiast. After some talking Scotch with him and tasting some whisky we exchanged names and became Facebook friends. Almost that same evening I received a personal message of Martin Verbiest throughout Facebook asking a “funny” question if I was interested in a sample of The Glenlivet Guardians Single Cask Edition. Well off course I said yes and a few days later this sample arrived. I came along the Glenlivet range quite early, tasting the 12 up to the XXV at a small festival, but unfortunately this was before I started taking notes. This is an 18 year old Single cask (cask 2911) bottled 14/11/2011 at 55, 7%, 631 bottles came from that cask. The fun part in the story is that Martin actually had picked the cask with 11 other guardians in London. While almost everyone is familiar with Glenlivet this is a very special one, so I want to thank my new friend Martin for supplying me so kindly with this sample. Let’s start.
At first quite alcoholic, but immediate some ginger and dried fruits appears. A bit hefty start. Quite doughy. Feels like baking an apple/apricot /prune (Tutti Frutti) pie with the fruits regenerated in lots of beautiful alcohol. Vanilla/honeyed sweetness to balance the fruitiness. Also some heather or grasses appear after a while. Very pleasant, but a dram to be nosed careful due to the outwardly going alcohol levels.
Hmm didn’t expect that. It is relatively soft at the start building up to a more spicy pack of flavours. Lots more vanilla and caramel then the nose lets you believe. Some smokiness and fleur-de-sell appearing. Slight hint of seaweed next to the ginger spiciness and the fruits. The fruitiness evolves from apple/prune (apricot is gone now) to some peach and orange zest. Wood influence gone up to, some nutmeg is also coming in the equation.
Quite long and spicy, a bit of a combo between alcohol spicy and peppery spiced. Slight bitterness appears, but also the honey and vanilla sweetened dark fruitiness keeps getting back.
Good balanced albeit the start is somewhat off due to the high alcoholic release at the first nosing. It is dark fruitiness and happiness, but it is also something you have to get to know to fully appreciate it.
I tasted several higher abv whisky’s that weren’t displaying this kind of alcohol exposure at the first nosing, which took me some time to get used to. After that this is a pleasant dram. For me it isn’t a stunner though, there is something in the dram that doesn’t make me extremely happy, just very happy…….. Points 86.
Martin thank you for supplying me with this sample!