The Glenlivet Founder’s Reserve

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The Glenlivet Distillery was founded in 1824 in a remote glen which was well known to illicit distillers. George Smith was one such distiller and it was he purchased a license after the passing of the 1823 Excise Act. His decision didn’t go down well with the other distillers in the glen however, many of whom viewed the excise laws as English interference in local affairs and took great pleasure in ignoring them. To them, Smith was a traitor and had to be stopped. Such was the hostility, Smith was persuaded by the Laird to carry a pair of pistols with which to defend himself should the time come.

Smith’s Glenlivet was of course a massive success and many of his critics were persuaded to follow in his footsteps. Before long, dozens of distilleries were producing so-called ‘Glenlivet’ whisky. By the time Smith’s son was running the family business, it had become such a problem that he was forced to take the matter to court. In 1878 the court ruled that Smith’s original distillery should be known as The Glenlivet, while competitors could only hyphenate… (Aberlour-Glenlivet, Tamdhu-Glenlivet etc).

Today, the Glenlivet is one of the biggest whisky brands in the world, even overtaking Glenfiddich in 2015 as the number one selling single malt brand. A recent decision to remove their flagship 12 year old expression was met with some criticism however, with many expecting its replacement, a no age statement ‘Founder’s Reserve’ to be an inferior product.


Smell: Lemon, Floral Honey, Vanilla and Caramel

Taste: Caramel and Honey, Toffee and Fudge along with creamy Vanilla and fresh fruit in the form of Green Apple, Pear, Lemon and even a touch of Grape.

Value for Money: Not a classic but in fairness, it won’t break the bank. Still though, one feels that a malt with the reputation of Glenlivet should be offering up a little more.

Score: 72

Not a totally unpleasant dram but it doesn’t quite live up to the standards of the famous 12 year old. Indeed, at this price point there are blends that offer more character. Possibly an option if you’re looking for a light bodied, fresh and easy drinking Speyside malt. If you’re looking for bold, rich flavours and complexity however, maybe skip this one.

*If, for some inexplicable reason, the whisky reviewed in this article has caught your eye, you can buy it from Master of Malt here. Please be aware that as an affiliate I can be paid a small commission on any purchases you make after following links from my page. The whisky is also available from several other excellent retailers. 

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