Sunday, 5 March 2017

Two very different Glenlivets

These are very far apart, an engineered official NAS that I expected to like less than I did, and a very old single independent cask that I expected to like more!  Both enriching in their own different ways!

Glenlivet Cipher, 48% A

the-glenlivet-cipher-whiskyNose - A gentle but considered nose. There's a lot going on here, and it's well done - a big cask musk, ripe pear, heather honey and… wax and red wine, strawberry laces and even a touch of bandage. Don't expect a bland, characterless NAS whisky, this has beautiful warmth, depth and balance.

Body - Peppery with beeswax, not as fruity as the nose would suggest, not as full either, but there's good dry wood and tannins and a flinty bonbons and a touch of fried red chilli.

Finish - Medium but quite sharp with toffee and young first fill bourbon.

A really lovely nose on this, less complex on the delivery but a good drinker.

Cadenheads Glenlivet, 42 years old, 40.2% A⊕

glenlivet-42-year-old-1973-small-batch-wm-cadenhead-whiskyNose - Gentle (well it is nearly not whisky), slightly sour, blackboards and beeswax, and buckets of old, tropical Scotch. A little bit naughty, like coconutty suntan cream with Chardonnay, plus bakewell slices and a little petrol and plastic book coverings. Retronasal Haribo.

Body - Very low ABV this. Old national trust library, with blue cheese on toast, brick coloured red wine, briefly licked cigar tobacco and milliput. It's like diluted old Tomatin, with stilton and cigars.

Finish - Very, very long, with orange squash, white truffle, blood orange zest and glace cherries. Gently tannic after the (literally) minutes it takes the finish to run through, more of that stilton rarebit.

Just saved from destruction by last minute bottling, this is a fascinating curio that requires constant attention, it's just so gentle. That said, I absolutely love the nose, an infinite finish, not overwooded… if only it was higher ABV it might have been sublime. A word of warning, approach this whisky very carefully. It does not follow others well and requires an intact palate to appreciate it, the fruit is very fragile indeed.

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