The Glenlivet Distillery was founded in 1824 in a remote glen, well known for illicit distilling. George Smith, himself a known distiller, was the first in the area to go legitimate following the Excise Act of 1823 which cheapened the cost of a distilling license. Smith’s decision didn’t go down too well with other distillers in the region however, who viewed the excise laws as English interference in local affairs and took great pleasure in working around them. To many, Smith was a traitor and he was urged by the local laird to carry two pistols by his side with which to defend himself and his distillery should it be required.
The Glenlivet, of course, was a massive success and inspired many to follow suit and open their own distilleries. Some went even further and used the Glenlivet name to bolster their own product. This became such a problem that Smith’s son went to court in 1878 to obtain the legal right to the name The Glenlivet. While the competition continued to refer to themselves as Glenlivet whiskies through the use of a hyphen (Aberlour-Glenlivet, Tamdhu-Glenlivet etc) it was now clear to all which was the true original.
Today, the Glenlivet is one of the largest whisky brands in the world, even overtaking Glenfiddich in 2015 as the number one selling single malt. The decision to remove their beloved 12 year old from some markets attracted a degree of criticism however, with many viewing it’s ‘No Age Statement’ replacement as an inferior dram.
On the nose there’s Lemon, Floral Honey, Vanilla and Caramel while on the palate is 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.
The Scores: About the Scoring System
Smell: Fresh and Fruity Speyside complimented by a pleasant caramel / fudge character.
Taste: Not the most complex but what it does, it does well enough.
Value for Money: It’s not a classic but it won’t break the bank either.
Overall: 38.5 / 50. Perhaps doesn’t quite live up to the standard of the famous 12 year old, but not an unpleasant dram by any means. A winner if you’re looking for a light bodied, easy drinking malt with a fresh Speyside character that’s both available and affordable.