Whisky Reviews

Glenlivet 18 Year Old


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Glenlivet is one of those distilleries that I’ve never really been able to bond with. They are a big name, and their sale levels indicate that a lot of people have become rather more affectionate with them than have I. As such, I keep thinking that there must be something I’m missing. By all means, the expressions I have tried have all been perfectly fine, good even, but not good enough to deserve some of the ratings they’ve achieved nor the rave reviews they’ve received.

I’m a bit worried that some of my readers may misunderstand me and as such I’m going to be painfully repetitive and say this again: I don’t dislike Glenlivet, I do like Glenlivet, I just don’t feel as if though I like it as much as I should. I guess my relationship with it is similar to that of a 13 year old boy or girl and Christmas Eve – you love the concept, you know it will be awesome and that you will get a whole bunch of presents, but you just can’t get as excited about it as you feel you ought to or used to. See what I mean?

Anyway, I sat down today with three three little drinks in front of me, the 12 year old, the 12 year old French Oak Finish and finally the 18 year old and decided to drink them in that very order. I won’t go into detail on the 12 year olds in this post; I merely had them to remind myself of what they are like and to attempt to get in the Glenlivet ‘zone’, if you will. The 18 year old, I can now conclude, is my favorite amongst the three.

The nose, to start with, is beautiful. Much like the 12 year old expressions it has a decisive flowery aroma, which is nice and fresh, along with a shy murmur of amontillado and some oak. There’s some peat in there, light footed as a ballerina, and definitely some fruit though I can’t quite put my finger on it. Not quite as apple-heavy as the 12’s. All of the aromas come together very nicely.

The palate is where the real improvement has been made; it starts out with the same flowers and fruits carried forward by the nose, then a bit gentle spice and oak. There’s another flavor that I can’t quite describe, the closest I could get is home-made nougat soaked in coffee – a small serving, mind you. The finish is dry, fairly sweet and just keeps going.

Have I changed my mind about The Glenlivet, then? Well, I suppose I have, at least a bit. The 18 year old, which I haven’t had all too often, is better than I remembered. Still not one of my favorite whiskies, but it is very drinkable and as such I can see why people enjoy it.

Color: Amber.

Nose: Flowers, fresh, faint amontillado, fruit, light peat, some oak, nicely combined.

Taste: Flowers, fruit, gentle spice, coffee soaked nougat.

Want to buy this whisky? Available in: USA & World (click)UK & Europe (click)

About Whisky Critic

My name is Martin and I live in Scotland. I love fine things in life, such as gourmet food, travelling around the world and, last but not least, whisky (naturally, I’m partial to a tipple of whiskey or bourbon as well). I have tasted hundreds of whiskies during the recent years and I finally decided to share my experience.

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1 Comment

  1. Jason's Scotch Whisky Reviews

    October 23, 2010 at 11:35 pm

    Like you, I was not overly impressed with the Glenlivet line-up until I picked up a bottle of the 18. For me, it is a truly great whisky. Especially so, if you add a teaspoon of water to a double pouring. The other factor that makes this whisky great is the reasonable price point.


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