Review: Glenlivet Founder’s Reserve

Photo via behance.net

Glenlivet has become one of the most popular single malt scotch companies in the world.  Officially established in 1824 (the same year as a certain college fraternity I was in), Glenlivet currently has over 25 different products on the market. And 190 years later in 2014 they created the Glenlivet 1824 Founder’s Reserve Single Malt scotch.  This replaced the standard 12 year old version that was on the shelves, and was branded specifically to honor founder George Smith.  To honor the same process that Mr Smith used, the whisky has been “created using the time-honoured distillation methods that he [Smith] introduced so long ago. Made with water from the same crystal-clear mountain streams, in the same cold, pure air, The Glenlivet Founder’s Reserve is as smooth and fruity as the whisky that first ran from the original copper pot stills”. The whisky is aged in American first-fill oak casks, named as such because they have never before been used to mature whisky.  While no official age is listed on the bottle, and whiskies from a variety of ages and casks are used in each batch, it is considered a 12 year old scotch by most.

the whisky has been “created using the time-honoured distillation methods that he [Smith] introduced so long ago. Made with water from the same crystal-clear mountain streams, in the same cold, pure air, The Glenlivet Founder’s Reserve is as smooth and fruity as the whisky that first ran from the original copper pot stills”

Glenlivet.com

Preparation: As with all scotches, my first sip was “neat”; meaning no ice, water or any other mixer, just the scotch on it’s own. After that I added a little bit of water for subsequent sips, and finally to get the entire range of flavors, I added ice in the last few sips.

Smell: Like many Glenlivet single malts, the Founder’s Reserve gives off a very sweet fruity smell, followed by honey and light notes of vanilla.  Because it’s only 40% ABV, there is not a strong alcohol smell.

Palate: Sweet is definitely the first note as you begin to taste the whisky as the fruity flavor is front and center. On subsequent tastes you also get notes of the vanilla as well as honey.  Very smooth and, similar to the smell, not an overpowering alcohol taste.  The body is medium, not too thick, not too thin. 

Finish: The finish leaves very little burn, and is quite sustained (Nigel Tufnel would be impressed with the sustain).  The sweet fruit flavor dissipates pretty quickly but you’ll continue to taste the honey and vanilla for a little while. 

With Ice: While the ice will dull the sweet fruit flavor and make the lesser notes very difficult to taste, but ice also removes almost all burn to the taste.  So if burn or the “alcohol taste” is something you still haven’t built a palate for, I would suggest adding ice.

Overall: This is one of my favorite lower end single malt scotches.  Not only do I have a personal connection to the year 1824, but I’m an overall fan of many of Glenlivet’s products. And for $40ish a bottle, it’s a very flavorful and enjoyable entry malt without breaking the bank.  The type of scotch to keep around as a “house bottle” that can be enjoyed by both new and experienced scotch enthusiasts.

Distiller: Glenlivet

Cask: American Oak

Price: $35-$45

ABV: 40%

Color: Pale Gold

Region: Speyside

Age: 12 years

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