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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Glenlivet 15 Year French Oak Reserve

Environment:  (same day as JWBL)

This was a cold Northeast day in 2010, tons of snow on the ground, and very few distractions.

I had tried the Johnnie Walker Black first, primarily since I had heard of it before (better marketing) and besides, I didn’t know any better back then.  Despite the overcast skies, the reflection of the brightness off the snow provided some solid natural light through the window to make out the color of pale straw on this scotch.

The 15 year old French Oak Reserve is matured in traditional oak casks and specially coopered new French Limousin oak casks which are commonly used for Cognacs. The unification of the new French oak and the traditional oak results in a balanced whisky with a unique oak style.

Tasting Notes

Nose:  As you bring it in, you will become aware of the presence of Oak in the air.  It doesn’t push you away, but is actually rather pleasant, and draws you in.  After answering its call a second whiff yields fruity citrus notes, and hints of vanilla.

Palate:  I am going to call this medium body…you can move it around in your mouth, but it is not overly thick and syrupy.  First, it is clear that the Oak has followed up on the promise that the nose gave me.  However, there is a sweetness here…spicy too.  I want to say almost like cinnamon and apples with that Oak ever-present.

Finish:  Fruity, and actually a little bit bitter.  It faded out a little bit quicker than I wanted it too, but one thing is for sure, the Oak was there all along, until the bitter end.


The Oak was present throughout, and that is not necessarily a bad thing.  I liked the pleasant fruitiness and the spicy kick, but overall, I found this a bit flat.  It never really peaks and knocks my socks off…I think it is due to that slight bitterness that prevents this one from reaching its full potential.  (I still finished the bottle over time though…I would like to revisit this one in the future, and see how it responds to a little water…these notes are almost two years old)

Score:  81
Tasted January 2010

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