Glenlivet 1981 The Ultimate

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This lovely little sample is a sherry matured 33 year old bottling of the very well known Glenlivet from a range called The Ultimate by van Wees, a Dutch independent bottler. Glenlivet is often unfairly judged due to it being one of the biggest and most “commercial” brands of single malt. Obviously high production volume does have an effect on quality, but generally single cask bottlings of it, especially ones that have not been watered down or chill filtered, are very good.

As for the bottler, van Wees’ “The Ultimate” series is very popular and widely available on the European market. As with most independent bottlers, there’s always a gamble as the quality of the individual casks that they choose to bottle may vary. I’ve had a few misses with this bottler, but on the whole their stuff usually sits on the scale between good and bloody fantastic. Best part about them though is that they sell some casks just as good as some of the larger bottlers at a fraction of the price.

Aged 33 years. 52.3%ABV. Matured in a sherry hogshead. No colourant added, non-chill filtered and bottled at cask strength from cask 9467.

Nose: Sulphury sherry. Red fruits. Old leather. Acetone. Rich varnished wood. Nesquik. Bit of a sweet herbal note, sweet fennel maybe. Juicy citrus.

Palate:  A little salty and mineral at first. This subsides a little but doesn’t go away. Gives way to very rich woody notes, red fruits and citrus. Then finally a lovely aromatic herbal note.

Finish: Long. The herbal note carries through here, then dry wood and sherry. Fruit leather. Bit of a liquorice note lingers on for a good while. (the salty dark European kind).

Would I buy this: Yes

Would I order this in a bar: Yes

Would I drink this if someone gave me a glass: Yes

VFM: 4/5

This was a fantastic dram. Very complex and the notes kind of flowed along instead of all hitting at once. As with some other well aged Glenlivets I’ve tried this one is full of rich wood and fruit notes, and for its age it’s not priced too badly either.

 

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