Sunday, March 6, 2011

Whisky review: The Glenlivet 12

The Glenlivet is one of the most well-known Scotch whisky distilleries. It is the best-selling single malt scotch in the United States and is also the first distillery in Glenlivet (the area around the River Livet) to have been licensed to produce Scotch whisky after the Excise Act of 1823 made it possible to profitably and legally distill whisky in Scotland.

Even though it's the best-selling single malt in the U.S., as of 2006, it only made up 0.5% of the American whisk(e)y market by volume. (By contrast, Jack Daniel's Tennessee Whiskey made up 10.2%.) So there's some room to grow.

The Glenlivet 12, 40% ABV
Single malt Scotch whisky (Speyside)

Nose: Very floral and sweet, with some malt and toasted almonds.

Palate: Butterscotch, rose petals, and more roasted nuts, all with a velvety mouthfeel. Superb.

Finish: Relaxing and lulling. Roasted malt. Just removes all the cares from my body.

Rating (of 100): 93. I'm not sure what it is tonight, but I'm loving this whisky. I've had it many times before, but I guess I never really paid attention to all that's going on. It's somewhat simple - a sweet malt that would not disagree with anyone. But on another level, it's an old friend you're happy to see and happy to spend the evening with in conversation.

The Glenlivet is one of those malts that "connoisseurs" are not supposed to like. It's mainstream. It's mass-marketed. And it's put in mixed drinks. But damn it, I like it. Maybe I'm not a connoisseur (and I never thought I was, so that's fine). But as I've said all along, that's the beauty of whisky. You can like whatever you like, and that's ok, no matter what it is.

I've organized tastings of The Glenlivet for my grad school classmates at MIT several times but this is the first time I have really tasted this malt. It was given to me as a gift by a friend who didn't know much about whisky but knew that I liked whisky, so she picked this bottle. It was a great pick, and it can be found in pretty much any bar and any retailer across the U.S. And for good reason - it's an outstanding product.

Drink up and enjoy.

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