So much whisky, so little time | Singapore | Tasting Notes

Glenlivet ‘An Unbended All Malt’ Baretto import vs Glenlivet 1966 Gordon & Macphail

First Glenlivet post, I can’t believe it myself, took long enough.


Plenty of ‘famous’ distilleries now, but up to the 1980s many single malts were labelled with the ‘ -glenlivet’ suffix, for example Balvenie-Glenlivet and Macallan-Glenlivet. But it was not because of the fame of the distillery founded by George Smith, which was the first to get a distillation license in the area of the Glenlivet valley and thereby happily laid claim to being ‘The Glenlivet’, but rather because of the reputation of the illicit stills of the Glenlivet valley generally. For many years after, some distillers would continue to add the suffix to suggest a perceived quality, despite actually being very far removed geographically from the valley itself.

This is not to say that the quality of George Smith’s distillery is in question, in fact it did become famous and such was the demand for its malt that the distillery remained in operation continuously from the time of its founding to the present day (though it did move from Upper Drumin to Minmore). Only a wartime break during the Second World War, and an odd fire here and there, marred it’s record.

Because of the changes of ownership thr names of the holding companies have varied (though you may not find that on the label). It was George & J.G. Smith Ltd till 1953, after which a merger made that The Glenlivet and Glen Grant Distillers, Ltd until 1972, when another merger changed that to Glenlivet Distillers Ltd. Shortly after ownership passed to Seagram and then Pernod in 2000.

Lantern shaped stills and long necks targeting more reflux action.



Glenlivet ‘An Unbended All Malt Whisky Twelve Years of Age’ Baretto import 45.7% ~early 70s

An impressively aged mini.

 Nose: Honestly the strangest nose I have come across in a long long while. Thick and dirty, end of the month used cooking oil, just verging on stale. With what must be food debris of weeks past floating about in it. It’s not entirely pleasant but I can’t honestly say it’s gone off either. Heavily and grossly camphorous and dank wood.

 Palate: When I was a student, we had a fridge. It was a cemetery for long rotten condiments, oils, sauces, etc I even found an egg yolk yellow mayo that expired 10 years earlier. But nothing in there compares to the dankness of this Glenlivet… Quite sure these are off notes now. Since we’re here, there’s also a bright white pepper heat and a warehouse of camphor.

 Finish: NA. To be fair, no scoring.


Glenlivet 1966 George & J.G Smith Gordon & Macphail 43% ~bottled 2012

This one’s only been in the wood since 1966 and it’s most likely to be a vatting including lots of ex sherry butts.

 Nose: Yes the cask comes out strongly. But you’ld be hard pressed to find oak lactones, instead it’s ancient tins of minty-medincinal lozenges, and granny’s chest rubs. The driest panels of cedar. Hints of dried cloves and nutmeg in a camphor keepsake boxes – nice ‘light’ ‘uplifting’ sort of camphor, just to be clear. Absolutely desiccated bay leaves and other leafy herbs in a well used cabinet. Old fragile but bone dry books. So yes the aromas are very dry and desiccated and somewhat fragile now. It feels like it’s missing a bassline, but the style is certainly yesteryear’s.

 Palate: The surprise is it’s not as fragile as I half expected it to be. Instead the 43% has a backbone. Stylistically we’re back with these dry crumbly aromatics – the medicinal camphor is quite strong too, but it’s also got a substantial bitter herbal tea and pureed spinach to it.

 Finish: Medium, not the longest, but drying on the tongue with some bite. Herbal green edge. This distillate has certainly seen better days.

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This entry was posted on August 29, 2017 by in Glenlivet and tagged .
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