Glenlivet is known for producing reliable and affordable scotch whiskies that deliver a solid drinking experience. But what happens when they take it a step further and infuse their spirit with the flavors of the Caribbean? That’s where the Glenlivet Caribbean Reserve comes into play. In this review, we dive into this unique expression to see if it truly elevates the Glenlivet experience to new heights.
A Brief History of Glenlivet
Before we delve into the tasting notes, let’s take a moment to appreciate the rich history behind Glenlivet. Established in 1824 by George Smith, Glenlivet was one of the first legal distilleries in the Speyside region of Scotland. Despite facing opposition from illegal distillers, Glenlivet prevailed and set a new standard for Scotch whisky production.
Over the years, Glenlivet has weathered challenges such as the destruction of its original distillery and the impact of world events like the Great Depression and World War Two. Through it all, the distillery has remained resilient and continues to produce exceptional single malt scotch whiskies.
The Glenlivet Caribbean Reserve: A Rum-Finished Delight
The Glenlivet Caribbean Reserve starts with a fermented mash of 100% Scottish produced malted barley. Distilled in lantern-shaped stills, this unique design contributes to the whisky’s sweeter profile compared to other distillers’ offerings. After the initial distillation, the spirit is aged in former sherry and bourbon casks, which results in the classic Glenlivet flavor.
But what sets the Caribbean Reserve apart is its extra maturation in barrels previously used to age Caribbean rum. While the exact period of aging remains undisclosed, this finishing process adds a touch of the tropics to the whisky’s character. The resulting blend is then bottled for sale, ready to be savored by whisky enthusiasts.
Aesthetics: Classic and Timeless
When it comes to packaging, the Glenlivet Caribbean Reserve stays true to the classic scotch whisky bottle design. Its cylindrical shape, flared base, and medium-length neck are familiar, making it easy to handle. The bottle is topped off with a synthetic stopper, adding a touch of elegance.
The label exudes simplicity, effectively conveying essential information while leaving room for interpretation. One notable detail is the use of different colors on the bottom band, with the Caribbean cask finished series adorned in vibrant red. This subtle branding flourish helps whisky enthusiasts quickly identify their preferred Glenlivet expression.
Tasting Notes: A Symphony of Flavors
In terms of appearance, the Glenlivet Caribbean Reserve shines with a beautiful golden hue. Upon nosing the whisky, one is greeted with aromatic notes of floral blossoms, honey sweetness, and a hint of vanilla. While one might expect more pronounced rum aromas, the focus remains on the whisky’s inherent characteristics.
The flavor profile mirrors the aromas, with floral notes, honey sweetness, a touch of acidity, and hints of vanilla dancing across the palate. However, the rum influence is less pronounced than anticipated. It’s only when a splash of ice is added that the subtle rum notes finally emerge, revealing hints of brown sugar, oatmeal, and vanilla.
Unfortunately, the rum flavors don’t fully translate into the taste experience. The whisky maintains its familiar Glenlivet qualities, with a slightly tarter finish. While the rum finishing process adds a touch of sweetness, it doesn’t quite justify the price difference compared to the standard Glenlivet offerings.
The Verdict: Stick to the Classics
In theory, the combination of rum and whisky sounds like a match made in heaven. However, the Glenlivet Caribbean Reserve falls short of delivering the anticipated flavor explosion. The rum influence remains subtle, resulting in a whisky that closely resembles its standard counterpart. For the price, it may be wiser to opt for the classic Glenlivet expressions, which provide a similar experience without the added cost.
To explore the impressive range of scotch whiskies by Glenlivet, visit the Ambassadeur Hotel and indulge in a taste of Scottish craftsmanship.