Glenlivet is a popular single malt Scotch whisky produced in Moray, Scotland. It is currently the best selling single malt whisky in the United States and second biggest in the entire world. The Glenlivet distillery is one of the largest single malt whisky distilleries worldwide and produces 6 million bottles worth of whisky annually. Today, the business is owned by the French alcoholic beverage company Pernod Ricard.
In This Guide
Illicit Beginnings Of Glenlivet
The Glenlivet legacy began in the Livit valley with founder George Smith. The Livet valley was an isolated area perfect for Smith’s illegal distilling operation. The reputation of the whisky coming out of Glenlivet spread across Scotland, and in 1822 despite it still being illegal, King George IV requested a dram of Glenlivet by name while in Scotland on state business. In 1823 the law was changed and in 1824 Glenlivet distillery was allowed to begin operating legally. Since then the distillery has remained in near-continuous operation, closing only once during World War II.
The Glenlivet distillery uses uniquely shaped copper pot stills to produce its single malt. The stills are said to bear a resemblance to lanterns and their tall, thin necks supposedly prevent heavier impurities from reaching the final product.
Glenlivet sources their water from local wells and their malt from Portgordon, Moray, Scotland. Glenlivet is currently owned by French Liquor giants Pernod Ricard, and the Glenlivet distillery also produces whisky which is used in Pernod Ricards other products such as Chivas and Royal Salute blended whisky.
Current Glenlivet Product Line
- Glenlivet 12 year
The workhorse of the Glenlivet lineup, Glenlivet 12 year is matured in a mix of American and European oak casks and bottled at 40% ABV. It has a fruity nose of citrus, apples, and apricots, a palate of vanilla and citrus, and an oak finish. Previously bottled in a widely recognized green-tinted bottle, in 2018 it was re-released in a clear bottle with teal labeling.
- Glenlivet 14 year Cognac Cask Selection
The 14 year offering from Glenlivet is matured in a mix of American oak, Spanish sherry, and French Cognac casks and bottled at 40%ABV. The nose has notes of honey, cinnamon, and licorice, with a rich palette of chocolate, dried fruit, and baked pear. The finish is long and luscious with a little dry heat.
- Glenlivet 15 year French Oak Reserve
Bottled at 40%ABV after maturing in French Limousin Oak casks, this bottle has a distinctive deep red label. The nose bears the aroma of almonds and butter. A palate of fruits, nuts, and with a buttery mouthfeel reminiscent of chardonnay. The finish is rich with a hint of almond and full of the promised french oak like a fine Armagnac.
- Glenlivet 18 Year
The Glenlivet 18 year is aged in American oak and sherry casks, bottled at 43% ABV and winner of two gold medals at the International Wine and Spirits competition. The 18-year offering has a nose of barley, chocolate, and light nuttiness. The palate is sweet juicy orange with spice and oak. The finish is long and spicy with a raisin sweetness. It makes for a great compliment to foie gras or a filet mignon. This bottle is often regarded as the best bang for your buck in the Glenlivet roster.
- Glenlivet 21 year
Bottled at 43% ABV and aged in American oak and sherry casks, this bottle may be among the most definitive examples of a top-shelf Speyside scotch available on the market. Possessing a strong nose of dried fruit, sherry, and malt accompanied by a palate of sherry, fruits, herbs, and oak. The finish is a lingering warmth with a note of nuttiness.
- Glenlivet XXV
The Glenlivet 25 year is bottled at 43%ABV and aged in Oloroso Sherry casks. On the nose, it has a rich chocolate and cherry notes. The palate is full of toasted nuts, dark chocolate, and ripe fruit ending with a long rich finish with a hint of baking spices.
- Glenlivet Caribbean Reserve
This bottle is built for summer evenings. Aged in American oak and finished in Caribbean rum casks, the Glenlivet Caribbean Reserve is not only great for sipping but would make a great substitution for rum in a mai-tai or other tiki cocktails. Bottled at 40%ABV the nose includes notes of orchard fruits accompanied by a noticeable aroma of ripe banana. The palate is full of tropical fruit and a hint of the funky esters that are signature to Caribbean rum. The finish is smooth and sweet.
- Glenlivet Founders Reserve
Bottled at 40%ABV without an age statement, the Founders Reserve has the fruity nose that Glenlivet is known for. A palate of orange, pear, and toffee is followed by a smooth lingering finish.
- Glenlivet Winchester Collection
The Winchester collection is a 50-year-old bottling aged in oak since the 1960s. Three vintages are available from 1964, 66, and 67. Only 150 bottles were filled and this is among the loftiest collectors bottles for scotch currently available.
Glenlivet Limited Releases and Travel Exclusives
In addition to their usual lineup of products, Glenlivet releases a number of limited edition bottles and many products sold only in duty-free shops.
- Glenlivet Mystery Series
Glenlivet has begun a tradition of releasing bottlings with no tasting notes, age statements, or information about the production process available to the public. The series dubbed “The Glenlivet Mystery Series” is packaged in distinctly opaque black bottles and includes sets of clues available online after solving word puzzles. The distillery has challenged their discerning customer base of whisky aficionados to taste and “Solve the puzzle” for themselves. Those who plan to uncover the mystery on their own should skip to Glenlivet Nadurra Oloroso to avoid spoilers below.
Aged exclusively in first fill scotch casks, Alpha is a rarity in the scotch world. While most scotches are aged in sherry, bourbon, or even rum casks, this bottling remains purely influenced by scotch flavors. A grassy nose with a hint of vanilla. On the palate, it has sweet notes of orange and clove with a peppery finish that lingers. Bottled at 50%ABV.
Below are the latest Glenlivet prices.
|The Glenlivet 12 Year||750ml||From $36|
|The Glenlivet 15 Year||750ml||From $57|
|The Glenlivet 18 Year||750ml||From $103|
|The Glenlivet 21 Year||750ml||From $195|
|The Glenlivet 25 Year||750ml||From $421|
|The Glenlivet Caribbean Reserve||750ml||From $40|
|The Glenlivet Founder’s Reserve||750ml||From $39|
|The Glenlivet Nadurra Oloroso||750ml||From $83|
|The Glenlivet Code Scotch||750ml||From $125|
|The Glenlivet Enigma||750ml||From $130|
While most scotch drinkers prefer their scotch neat or on the rocks, Glenlivet lends itself well to a wide array of scotch cocktails. The following two cocktails are classic which will highlight and accent any of the Glenlivet lineups you choose to use. While they can be made with a blended scotch, these recipes are adjusted to preserve the flavors of the original single malt scotch.
The Rob Roy
- 60 ml Glenlivet of your choosing
- 22.5 ml Sweet Vermouth
- 2 dashes Angostura bitters
- 1 dash Orange bitters
Stir over ice, strain into a coupe, garnish with two brandied cherries
The Rusty Nail
- 60 ml Glenlivet of your choosing
- 22.5 ml Drambuie
Stir, strain over a large cube, garnish with a lemon twist