After all those official bottlings on these pages, here is a sort of semi-official Glenlivet (without the “the”). This is a nice 21yo Glenlivet, bottled by Gordon & MacPhail in 2009. Please check out the codes printed on the glass, since these licensed bottlings are bottled quite often, and bottling years are interesting since there always is some batch variation. The code on this bottle is JI/JFEF, where JI stands for 2009. More recent bottles have even a bottling date printed on them, so now it’s even easier to know which version you have.
Color: Lively orange gold
Nose: Yeasty, waxy, dusty and smells like old Whisky, which is nice. Very fruity. Toned down sugared fruits, mostly yellow, apricots for certain, with a touch of very ripe and sweet tangerine skins (the soft ones oozing with juice). Creamy vanilla and very likeable, not a lot of wood after 21 years. I have never smelled a Glenlivet from Glenlivet themselves, unless it was an old bottling, but this one is from late eighties distillate. (I did the math). I like it very much, although you can smell that this has been reduced, which usually is not so good. Light. Still, the liveliness and fruitiness and the smell of years long gone, makes this an excellent Whisky. Wait a minute, what about how it tastes?
Taste: Waxy and fruity, yes! A little bit of sweet vanilla ice cream with fresh papaya sauce over it. This time around there is most definitely some wood, and maybe some toast or smoke. In this case that’s a good thing because otherwise it just would be too light through reduction. The lightness is also noticeable by the rather short finish, which has a bitter edge from oak.
I don’t know why exactly, because it has been watered down to much and usually I don’t care a lot for woody bitterness in the finish, but for me this one works! I like it, I have one, and if that one would be empty, I would go for another one. This makes me happy, and I’m going to drink the whole sample. Nice! It is twenty-one years old, and considering the price it costs, this seems to me to be a must have. Alas these licensed bottlings from Gordon & MacPhail are getting rather rare these days, with the last version bottled in 2012. Go and find one.