It’s a no age statement whisky. That alone raised consternation. Mature tiplers questioned the need to tamper with a successful recipe. Acute drinkers lauded their courage to break new ground and attract young blood. Up until recently, Glenlivet’s 12 year old was the default choice, offering great taste for a good price. But which company can afford to rest of its laurels?
New drinkers are being courted every which way, and if Glenlivet doesn’t till the fields now, they might as well roll over belly up. So efforts to concoct and produce the Founder’s Reserve merit appreciation; not only for Master Distiller Alan Winchester, but for Glenlivet’s willingness to roll the dice and fight for the survival of the brand. As it’s own dram – taking in its aromas and flavours – that’s the impression I get. The Founder’s Reserve is full of citrus fruit scents. The taste is also sweeter but not overwhelmingly so, with notes of oranges, pears, toffee apples and candy. There’s a long, creamy, and satisfyingly smooth finish to tie the whole experience up. It’s a contemporary update, one that I feel appeals more readily to a younger audience.
When you bear in mind all the signature facets of the Glenlivet are still abundantly obvious i.e. tropical fruitiness, sweet vanilla tones from first-fill bourbon casks, that classical balance of orange zest and sticky toffee, you know the noses at one of Scotland’s most successful distilleries have done a stonking job. This is the new bottle to keep at the front of your drinks cabinet. This is your latest companion to wash off a long hard week. Here’s the new dram for toasting at birthdays, weddings, and in memory of passing brothers-in-arms. And this is our choice for the evolution of whisky.