A shortage of aged stock and the need to have existing reserves aged and matured to sustain for older expressions, the Glenlivet distillery had decided to replace its 12 YO expression with the 2014 “Founder’s Reserve” in selective markets around the world. The expression with its Georgian blue labeling, doesn’t have an age statement attached to it and hence features a range of spirits of varying ages under its hood.
The Founder’s Reserve is a tribute to George Smith and his efforts in establishing the brand as one of the world’s most famous and widely sold Single Malt whiskies. Other than the usual barrel maturations, the expression boasts of being matured in first-fill casks, meaning being filled for the first time after previously aging bourbon. This terminology differs from how the Americans define first-fill, meaning new, which is always the case by bourbon definition.
ABV : 40%
Eye: Old Gold | Artificial Colouring
Nose: Caramel, nougat and cream with an amalgam of nutmeg, cinnamon and green pepper; the sweetness of honey is complimented by light nuances of brine, followed by pineapples, sultanas and char.
Taste: Vanilla coupled with honey are greeted by hints of barley and dried fruits. Raisins and oak wood are interrupted by mild spices and the zest of crushed mint leaves.
Finish: Short to medium | Vanilla and green pepper.
This Livet falls short of being a great dram and by a far bit honestly. The expression seemed to be created as an easy and inexpensive alternative, palatable to most. Flavours are mundane and the spirit itself seems immature, a mild burn on the nose with a weak vanilla – caramel footprint, which might have developed more prominent flavours were it to mature longer or at least contain more aged spirits. I would have liked the green pepper and char to be a bit more pronounced or at least the vanilla-spice from the first-fill but it seemed all the flavours were screaming together all at once with none really trying to stand out individually.
For a NAS whisky, this surely is on the younger side of the malt spectrum, and falls short of other whiskies in the same price range – blended or malt. I wouldn’t necessarily head for this one unless I wanted to experiment with something different. And NO; this can’t replace the 12 YO offering at least on a “Palate Standoff”!!