The Glenlivet Explores New Frontiers With Launch Of Cognac Cask Finish Expression

TGL Captain's Reserve ImageThe Glenlivet is set to re-assert its credentials as the definitive Single Malt Scotch whisky with the release of a contemporary new expression; Captain’s Reserve, a Single Malt selectively finished in high-quality Cognac casks. The launch is set to push the boundaries of modern Scotch through its distinctive cask combination.

Captain’s Reserve is the result of flavour and cask experimentation. This combination of the raisin-rich intense taste of Cognac with the signature citrus notes and creamy smoothness of The Glenlivet offers consumers the opportunity to broaden their Single Malt Scotch repertoire. The new flavour and taste experience also encourages new consumers to explore the thriving Single Malt Scotch category, which is one of the fastest growing spirits categories globally, and is expected to continue its growth at +6%[1].

This new expression, which will sit as part of The Glenlivet range, is a tribute to Captain William Smith Grant, great-grandson of George Smith, founder of The Glenlivet, the definitive Speyside Single Malt. The Captain not only fought in the First World War in France, but later went on to fight for The Glenlivet, guiding the brand through the difficult Prohibition years and leading the Single Malt Scotch whisky revival in the UK and US. This unique story is brought to life through Captain’s Reserve by uniting the definitive Speyside Single Malt and the opulent rich flavours of Cognac.

Alan Winchester, The Glenlivet Master Distiller, comments: “We know that Single Malt consumers are becoming increasingly adventurous and are seeking to explore new flavour profiles and finishes in the category. Research shows that the global consumption of Cognac is expected to increase by some 2m cases by 2021[2]. By introducing the Cognac casks into our maturation process, we are able to capitalise on the popularity of this flavour and add another dimension to our world-renowned portfolio. The Cognac casks’ influence will bring a real richness to the smooth and fruity style of The Glenlivet, which we’re confident new and existing Single Malt Scotch enthusiasts will enjoy.”

Captain’s Reserve is available globally, with an RRP ranging from £45-48 (or local equivalent).

The Glenlivet Launches Campaign To Celebrate Life’s Definitive Moments

The Glenlivet is launching its most ambitious campaign to date to celebrate its role as the definitive Speyside Single Malt in the Scotch Whisky category. Aptly named The Whisky, The Glenlivet, the global integrated campaign will give the brand a modern and contemporary feel. The Whisky, The Glenlivet is an evolution from the brand’s heritage as “The original single malt brand that set the standard” and is set to reinforce its role as a visionary within the single malts category.

Launching on 22nd September globally, the campaign will run across TV, digital, print and out of home advertising, The Whisky, The Glenlivet campaign celebrates the unwavering pursuit of its founder, George Smith, to create the definitive Speyside Single Malt.

Never settling for anything less than excellence, George Smith carefully selected the local spring water from the valley to make, what he believed was, The Whisky. Seeing his continued success, many of Smith’s neighbouring distilleries started to add Glenlivet to their name in an effort to appeal to the whisky drinker. Determined to act as the guardian for the outstanding quality and craftsmanship for which his whisky had become known, George Smith took legal action to preserve his distillery’s reputation, laying in place the foundations for the whisky we know today as The Glenlivet. This triumph has established The Glenlivet as a benchmark of excellence from the Livet Valley and is the driving force behind the new campaign – while other whiskies could have used Glenlivet in their name, none could claim to be The Glenlivet.

The campaign will launch with two films – ‘The Night Sky’ and ‘The Fire’ – both demonstrating the beauty of the unspoilt world and encouraging consumers to seek out definitive moments with the definitive whisky. The artistic representations help to show consumers that by looking beyond the ordinary they can unlock something special, which is what George Smith did by accomplishing his quest to create the definitive Speyside Single Malt.

Miriam Eceolaza, Global Marketing Director, comments: “Our new campaign is designed to celebrate the most natural and humbling experiences which allow us to lead richer and more fulfilling lives. The Whisky, The Glenlivet showcases the beauty in the unspoilt world and encourages consumers to search for those definitive moments with the definitive whisky.”

Sean Condon, Creative Director at Wieden + Kennedy Amsterdam comments: “This work is like nothing ever seen before in the category, exploring pleasure and singular experiences in a startlingly original way. It’s bold and beautiful and a little bit brash. It’s work that, like the product itself, should be savoured.”

The Glenlivet Unveils Peat-Influenced Expression For The Innovative Nàdurra Range

Glenlivet-124 copy

The Glenlivet has launched a third expression for its celebrated Nàdurra range, as it continues to honour the historic traditions of making single malt whisky through new and innovative cask finishes. The Glenlivet Nàdurra Peated Whisky Cask Finish is the first release to have a subtle, smoky taste profile, having been finished in American oak casks that have previously held heavily-peated Scotch whisky.

Bottled at 61.5% ABV cask strength, The Glenlivet Nàdurra Peated Whisky Cask Finish is inspired by the authentic production processes used at The Glenlivet Distillery by its founder, George Smith, who originally used peat smoke to dry the malted barley. Finished in peated casks, the classic, smooth and fruity house style that has made the range so famous has been enriched with gentle, aromatic smoky notes, to offer a brand new The Glenlivet experience to whisky enthusiasts. The expression will also be available in Global Travel Retail at 48% ABV.

Available in nine domestic markets, including USA and France, and Global Travel Retail from October 2015 at US$89 (or local equivalent), the release follows the launch of The Glenlivet Nàdurra Oloroso and The Glenlivet Nàdurra First Fill Selection in 2014. The Glenlivet craftsmen individually nosed each cask to ensure the perfect balance between fruit and smoke in the whisky, which has been bottled in small batches with no chill-filtration to offer the complexity, full body and distinctively creamy texture of a whisky that has just been drawn from the cask.

Alan Winchester, Master Distiller at The Glenlivet, comments: “I’m delighted to present the purest expression of The Glenlivet, which pays homage to the distillery’s legendary past. Nàdurra captures the original passion behind George Smith’s distillery, which inspires us to create new flavour journeys for consumers so his spirit remains alive today. The Glenlivet Nàdurra Peated Whisky Cask Finish demonstrates this beautifully, with its warming mouthfeel, swirls of vanilla cream and subtle traces of tangy smoke, and I hope that whisky enthusiasts now and in the future enjoy this rare taste that echoes of the past.”

Nikki Burgess, Global Brand Director for The Glenlivet, added: “Interest among whisky fans for new, original and well-made single malt Scotch has continued to grow in recent years, and we at The Glenlivet are proud to have set the benchmark for quality and innovation. The Glenlivet Nàdurra range has enjoyed a cult following due to its rich craftsmanship story and commitment to traditional 19th Century production methods, and with releases such as The Glenlivet Nàdurra Peated Whisky Cask Finish we hope to inspire more and more increasingly discerning drinkers to learn about the craftsmanship, provenance and heritage of ‘the single malt that’s started it all’.”

The Glenlivet Nàdurra Peated Whisky Cask Finish is presented in refreshed packaging, first introduced in April 2014, which emphasises the artisanal nature of the range. The design includes a prominent batch number, cask-like stamps and a more visible translation of the Gaelic word, Nàdurra – meaning natural – to illustrate the essence of the brand.

The Glenlivet 12 Year Old Launches New Limited Edition Gift Packs For Christmas

The Glenlivet 12YO Limited Edition EOY Gift Pack

The single malt that started it all partners with Master Typographer Alan Kitching to create bold and original design

The Glenlivet has today unveiled a new limited edition gift pack series, aimed to increase on-shelf appeal for its 12 Year Old expression during the pre-Christmas gifting season. Created in partnership with Master Typographer Alan Kitching, the bold new packaging highlights The Glenlivet’s dedication to crafted quality and brings to life the heritage of the definitive Speyside malt.

The gifting series, which features specially-commissioned letter press artwork by Kitching, an appointed royal designer, includes The Glenlivet 12 Year Old (70cl), as well as two value added packs: one with two branded glasses and a second with 5cl miniature bottles of the 15 Year Old French Oak Reserve and 18 Year Old expressions.

Each of the value added packs contains a booklet detailing The Glenlivet’s brand story and the partnership with Kitching, which was inspired by the shared tradition, craftsmanship and skill found in both the art of letter press printing and the creation of quality, single malt whisky.

The story of The Glenlivet, which started in 1824 when George Smith founded the first licensed distillery in the parish of Glenlivet, is explored on the packaging alongside references to its rich heritage. These include King George IV’s request for “Glenlivet” by name in 1822, together with other examples of how this renowned single malt set the standard of quality and craftsmanship that went on to define the Speyside style of whisky.

Nikki Burgess, Global Brand Director of The Glenlivet, comments: “The Glenlivet has worked with Alan Kitching to create a design for our flagship expression that is both bold and eye-catching; something that will stand out this Christmas while also highlighting some of the key moments in the brand’s inspiring history.

“Letterpress printing is a traditional technique which mirrors the time-honoured craftsmanship of The Glenlivet. We have then presented the prints in an eye-catching way on pack, resulting in a contemporary gift that we anticipate will appeal to whisky fans.”

The Glenlivet limited edition gift packs will be available from December 2014 in a number of markets including US, Canada, South Africa, Portugal and Belgium, priced as per The Glenlivet 12 Year Old.

The Glenlivet Nàdurra Unveils Hand-Crafted Dram Chair By Award-Winning Designer Gareth Neal

GLENLIVIT_Day3_JM-252The Glenlivet, the single malt that started it all, has unveiled the latest innovation from its Nàdurra range, The Glenlivet Nàdurra Dram Chair. A celebration of modern craftsmanship, the Dram Chair aims to provide the perfect setting in which whisky connoisseurs can relax and enjoy a dram of single malt Scotch whisky.

The Dram Chair is the result of a collaboration with award-winning British designer, Gareth Neal, whose original furniture is popular among discerning customers around the world. Neal drew inspiration from the traditional, nineteenth century production methods at the heart of Nàdurra, meaning ‘natural’ in Gaelic, to design a contemporary piece that captures the spirit of the range.

The frame of the chair is hand-crafted from oak, so crucial to the maturation of The Glenlivet spirit, while the leather seat has been steeped in oak bark by the only remaining oak tannery in Great Britain. The copper rivets, which mirror the distillery’s copper pot stills, secure the chair and ensure that it will withstand the test of time and a dram can be nestled comfortably on the chair’s arm

The original design will be on display for a limited time at The New Craftsmen store in Mayfair, London, before it becomes an exhibit at The Glenlivet Distillery. Members of The Guardians of The Glenlivet online community can commission a chair to order at a cost of £6,200, and customise which arm of the chair should be equipped to house a dram. Each bespoke chair will be etched and numbered to create subtle variations and originality for collectors.

Commenting on the launch, Neal said: “My core values are people, process and place, so spending time with the handful of people who make The Glenlivet Nàdurra and witnessing first-hand the time-honoured processes that are used to create this fine whisky was truly inspiring. I have used a similar, hand-crafted approach to my own production methods for this unique dram chair.

“Enjoying a dram is a moment of escapism and I wanted to immerse the sitter in the materials that have brought this moment of pleasure about, in absolute comfort. The piece is so lightweight that it can literally be transported to a location of choice. I imagined a dramatic vista of the Scottish Highlands but the collector can create their own perfect Nàdurra moment.”

Nikki Burgess, Global Brand Director of The Glenlivet, added: “Neal and The New Craftsmen were obvious partners to commission to make The Glenlivet Nàdurra Dram Chair. They are passionately committed to a shared vision: combining the unique heritage of British craftsmanship with a sense of modernity. The partnership has resulted in something naturally crafted that is surprising and unique – a timeless original.”

The Glenlivet Nàdurra is batch produced at cask strength using traditional methods and is bottled without chill-filtration, which offers additional complexity, body and a richer texture. The Dram Chair launch continues an innovative year for The Glenlivet Nàdurra, which has included the expansion of the range with two permanent new additions; Nàdurra Oloroso, matured exclusively in sherry casks, is extending its presence from Travel Retail into domestic markets, while Nàdurra First Fill Selection was launched last month and is rolling out into markets worldwide.

Exotic Taste of The Glenlivet Is A Winner

The Glenlivet Guardians' Chapter (1)

Thousands of votes across 37 countries have been cast by whisky lovers to select a new limited edition from The Glenlivet, with its Exotic expression revealed today as the winner, with 39% of the vote.

The announcement follows a global campaign by The Glenlivet, during which the brand reached out to whisky fans around the world giving them the chance to select the next The Glenlivet expression for the first time ever. The winning expression will be named “The Guardians’ Chapter” in recognition of the significant part the distillery’s fan club – The Guardians of The Glenlivet – has made to the voting. The new whisky – which is non-chill filtered, 48.7% proof and described as a rich, indulgent single malt – will be bottled in limited quantities and distributed around the world from March 2014, priced at $85 (or equivalent).

The winning ‘Exotic’ single malt was created using a subtle mixture of casks including Hogsheads and American oak barrels with the addition of a proportion of whisky from Spanish ex-sherry butts to provide a rich, exotic twist. The resulting whisky displays the signature fruitiness of The Glenlivet with the addition of rich, warm spicy notes. Rich and indulgent on the nose, it offers aromas of moist and sweet, candied apples balanced with a hint of orange marmalade. The taste combines juicy raisins with an undertone of dark chocolate orange zestiness, well balanced with a subtle warmth of spice, complementing a long and slightly dry finish.

The campaign began in September 2013, with Master Distiller Alan Winchester revealing the three expressions he had hand-picked for fans to choose from. The three expressions – which were selected to spark debate over single malt style preferences – were named according to their taste profile, with the options being Classic, Exotic and Revival. Fans of the brand were invited to tasting events held across the globe where they sampled and voted for their favourites.

In addition to the tasting events, a series of special evenings entitled the ‘Expression Sessions’ were held in London, New York and Mumbai. Designed to bring the styles of the three expressions to life through aligned cultural interests, the events included a range of speakers, including artists, academics, musicians and explorers. The London event saw design expert, Stephen Bayley, talking about ‘classic’ car design whilst explorer Benedict Allen described what encountering the ‘exotic’ meant to him. Videos and findings from the events, alongside the percentage breakdown of the final results, can be found on the brand’s website,

Alan Winchester comments: “The story of The Guardians’ Chapter doesn’t end here. This is an opportunity to savour a unique, limited edition, single malt that’s already been admired and desired by thousands of whisky lovers. Our Guardians have written a new chapter in the distillery’s distinguished history; this will be their legacy and I’m really pleased with the enthusiastic response we received and the selection the Guardians have made.”

Nikki Burgess, Global Brand Director for The Glenlivet, adds: “Deciding on a new Scotch whisky expression is normally a privilege reserved for a very select handful of experts, revered for their knowledge and experience. With The Glenlivet Guardians’ Chapter, we wanted to recognise the passion and expertise of our Guardians in an original and inspiring way by inviting them to write the next chapter in The Glenlivet’s history. We’ve had an excellent response from fans across the world, particularly in the USA, the world’s no. 1 single malt market, and we are sure that our founder, George Smith, would be proud of the smooth and complex whisky that will bear his and The Glenlivet’s name when it goes on sale next year.”

The Glenlivet Guardians’ Chapter Tasting Notes

The Glenlivet

I’m a whisky lover. Whisky is the biggest category explored on my website due to my love for finding something new within its boundaries. This also means that I love to be ahead of the game sometimes, and have been honoured with the chance to sample new expressions over the years. Today though, I have the chance to experience three whiskies that will define the way forward for a brand, and two of them I will never get the opportunity to purchase again. The Glenlivet have a name for their global community, The Guardians of The Glenlivet, and I being one of them, have been tasked with a simple yet rewarding event.

Three expressions of The Glenlivet, simply titled #CLASSIC, #REVIVAL and #EXOTIC. All created by master distiller Alan Winchester, but only one will go into production in February 2014, the next chapter for its limited edition range of 2000 9-litre cases. My goal? To choose which is my preferred. Sounds easy? Well lets see what I think of each –

The Glenlivet - Guardians' Chapter
The Glenlivet – Guardians’ Chapter

#CLASSIC – 48.7%

A good blend of pineapple and fruit cake on the nose, with hints of pear coming through close to the end. Orange, dried fruits and the pineapple once again cause a wave of flavour to pass over the palate, creating a lingering yet warming finish. Expect no dryness despite the flavours.

#REVIVAL – 48.7%

Very soft hints of honey and toffee on the nose, alongside dry aromas of nutmeg and walnut. A slow spice that develops on the palate to release the likes of aniseed, cinnamon and ginger. Slight sharpness near the very very long finish. A little dry too.

#EXOTIC – 48.7%

Sweet aromas of fudge, vanilla and honey on both the nose and palate. A more subtle spice comes through, with dried raisin and ginger dominating. Hints of dark chocolate and crème brûlée follow to give a long, bold and lasting expression. A dominating finish.

I myself voted for the #Classic, with the #Revival a close second. However #Exotic came out on top overall, winning the chance to be bottled in 2014!


© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

The Glenlivet

The Glenlivet

The Glenlivet is another one of those whisky brands that I have come across a fair few times and have managed to amass tasting notes on each occasion. So it makes sense to bring them all together and to also showcase its new expression Alpha. But first, who are The Glenlivet? *

Glenlivet is located within Speyside and when translated from Gaelic, means ‘valley of the smooth-flowing one’. At the beginning of the 19th century, when heavy taxation meant illegal distillation ran rife, the peaks and gorges provided perfect cover for smugglers who wanted to hide from the authorities. The word spread that the whisky distilled here was unsurpassed and whisky from Glenlivet was even requested by name by King George IV on a state visit to Scotland in 1822.
Raised on a farm and trained as a joiner, George Smith was a businessman and entrepreneur who didn’t follow the lead of the illegal still owners. In 1824, he obtained a distiller’s licence so he could produce and trade without attracting the attention of government excise men. The smugglers were furious that George could go about his business freely while they still had to conceal their activities. George Smith passed away in 1871, but his legacy lived on in his son and heir to the distillery John Gordon Smith.

John’s first task was to protect his inheritance from those who were taking advantage of the single malt from Speyside. Sailors on delivery boats were siphoning off the casks during transit, and competing distillers were labelling bottles of their whiskies as Glenlivet. In 1876, John filed a request to trademark the name Glenlivet to put an end to the activities of the impostors. After years of legal wrangling, the case was settled. John won the exclusive right to call his whisky ‘The Glenlivet’, definitively marking it as the single malt that started it all. When John’s second great-nephew Captain Bill Smith Grant inherited the distillery in 1921, action by the Distillers Company Ltd. led to season-long closures throughout Scotland. Thanks to Smith Grant’s perseverance, The Glenlivet distillery was one of just a few malt distilleries that remained open.

Prohibition was lifted in the United States in 1933, and trade channels re-opened the following year. Because The Glenlivet distillery had remained open for business, it was in an ideal position to capitalise on this lucrative transatlantic opportunity. The Pullman train company started serving The Glenlivet in miniature bottles. Commuters across the Midwest couldn’t get enough of this superb single malt, and word spread quicker than the trains could travel. By 1950, The Glenlivet accounted for half of all the Scottish malt whisky sold in the US.

The distillery draws water from Josie’s Well and other springs a short distance from the distillery and uses barley from Crisp Maltings, Portgordon. The spirit is distilled twice before being matured in ex bourbon casks, with some products being finished in casks previously used to store sherry and port.

As mentioned, I’ve been lucky enough to try some of The Glenlivet range, so below, I give to you my tasting notes –

The GlenlivetThe Glenlivet 12yr – 40%

A sweet, rich nose with vanilla and green apple coming through. Toffee and fudge present on the palate with plenty of oak flavours and hints of aniseed. A long finish with a slight warmth.

The Glenlivet 15yr French Oak Reserve – 40%

Matured in French Limousin Oak casks. Rich butter aromas on the nose with oak following. A combination of fruit and nut with spice and cinnamon making an appearance. Lingering finish of spice.

The Glenlivet Nadurra Cask Strength 16yr – 54.2%

Fresh, rich aromas of apple and vanilla on the nose. Slight spice on the palate, with vanilla and soft fruits bursting on a dry finish.

The Glenlivet Nadurra Oloroso – 48%

Small batch crafted and matured within 100% ex-Oloroso sherry casks from Jerez in Spain. Lots of dried fruits combining on the nose including stalked cherries, sultanas and slight apricots. A developing spice on the palate, with lots of sweet orange, dark chocolate notes and plenty of cream that counters somewhat the dry finish.

The Glenlivet Nadurra Oloroso Matured – 60.7%

Small batch crafted and matured within 100% ex-Oloroso sherry casks from Jerez in Spain. Dry sherry notes on the nose with rich honey aromas on the finish. Sharp beginning on the palate, very thin and light with honeycomb and sherry kicks, leading to a bold, spice and a lingering warmth on the finish.

The Glenlivet Founders Reserve – 40%

Created by selecting whisky from a variety of traditional aged oak casks and and American first-fill oak casks. Strong, sour green apple and cider notes on the nose, with a smooth offering on the palate with a developing fresh spice. Plenty of stewed apple and oak notes combining and leading to bold, rich kicks with a long, lively finish. Smooth, with red apple notes.

The Glenlivet 18yr – 43%

Rich toffee and fruit notes on the nose with honey and walnut flavours mixing with spice as it nears the long ending on the palate.

The Glenlivet Nadurra Oloroso
The Glenlivet Nadurra Oloroso

The Glenlivet 21yr – 43%

Cereal and honey aromas create a rich nose, whilst a sweet ginger and cinnamon offering on the palate developing towards a warm, long ending.

The Glenlivet Alpha – 50%

Surrounded by some fantastic marketing, The Glenlivet Alpha bottle is described as a “blank canvas”, a single malt designed to challenge consumers to develop their own perceptions of the whisky without being influenced by age, colour or cask. Just 3,500 bottles of the 50% abv expression have been released to 15 global markets, including the US, UK, Taiwan and France, targeted predominantly at existing The Glenlivet fans and single malt Scotch enthusiasts. A teaser campaign ran across social media and digital, aiding consumers to develop their own tasting notes and discover the elements that have formed Alpha. Here’s mine –

Light on the nose with some sweetness coming through. Aromas of sherry and dry oak linger a little soon after. Sharp beginning on the palate, with an almost corn like feel. Some notes of iodine blend with citrus and honey to create a very long finish.

The range is superb, with great marketing for their newest expression in The Glenlivet Alpha. Well worth a dram or two if you come across any, and a great addition to your drinks cabinet.

To check out the quest to find the newest The Glenlivet limited edition, check out The Glenlivet Guradians’ Chapter, where I had the chance to sample three, with only one going into production.

* History taken from The Glenlivet website. Subtle changes have been made for narrative purposes only.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.