Distillery: The Glenlivet
Age: No age statement
Part of Glenlivet’s Travel Exclusives range, the Master Distiller’s reserve pays homage to Alan Winchester, Master Distiller at Glenlivet since 2009. He decided to craft a triple cask matured whisky, which was first aged in traditional American oak (used as the standard cask for most Glenlivet expressions), followed by a first-fil bourbon barrel and ex-sherry European oak. The result is a whisky with a wide-ranging flavour palette that’s very easily drinkable. Nevertheless, as a NAS bottling, this dram has likely not aged for very long, and this youthfulness means that the sophistication found in more mature Glenlivet expressions is sadly lacking.
Colour: Old gold
Nose: The aroma of vanilla dominates the nose, but is balanced out by fruity notes of fresh pears and dried plums. These are followed by hints of hazelnut and cream caramel.
Palate: Light bodied and fairly sweet, with plenty of honey flavour. White chocolate and vanilla give way to a nuttier profile. Underneath it all is a whiff of raw spirit, as I suspect this whisky is fairly young. Lastly, notes of (over)ripe apples take over.
Finish: Medium-short, as sweet notes fade into a more bitter aftertaste. The finish doesn’t quite deliver, and leaves you wanting more.
Verdict: This is a fairly flat, easy going whisky. Not a dram for in front of the hearth fire, but best enjoyed on a sunny spring afternoon. As another NAS whisky that relies more on marketing than on quality, the Master Distiller’s Reserve is no match for the 12 year old in my opinion. Nevertheless, at this price point, it cannot hurt to give this Glenlivet a try.