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.
Overall: 38.5 / 50.
Not an unpleasant dram by any means, but doesn’t quite live up to the standards of the famous 12 year old. Possibly a winner if you’re looking for a light bodied, fresh and easy drinking Speyside malt that’s both available and affordable. If you’re looking for bold, rich flavours however, maybe skip this one.