Glenlivet 1981 (52.3%, vW, 2014)

A 33-year-old single cask of The Glenlivet, bottled by van Wees in the serie The Ultimate – Rare Reserve.

First article from the new continent! I still have tons of unfinished articles about whiskies I tasted before leaving, but I have to admit that, you know, my productivity was focussed elsewhere and that I didn’t put too much time into the blog lately… I’ll try to catch up in the following weeks, as I seem to have a bit more time now that I’m finally here, in beautiful and exciting Guatemala. And to celebrate the beginning of this new adventure of mine, here comes the review of the first whisky I managed to taste here in Central America: this majestic Glenlivet distilled in 1981 and bottled in 2014 by van Wees. Hans van Wees himself was kind enough to give me this sample when I visited his shop last September. It was aged in a sherry cask (number 9407), and bottled for the serie The Ultimate – Rare Reserve: I’m super happy that I can taste such a luxurious whisky, and I think I found a good spot to “honour” it among the ruins of La Recolección, in Antigua Guatemala.

In the glass it shines with a ruby red colour, with golden reflexes. Amazing, I can’t wait to taste it. I’m more impatient than when I was waiting for X-Men – Dark Phoenix. To finish.

Nose: Very intense and super fruity. Oh. So. Good! Orange, and orange peel, veeery fruity and quite sweet. But it’s a deep, dark sweetness, and there is a surprising faint smokiness that I associate to something like an old oven. I think I smell something herbal too, but I cannot pinpoint it to a particular smell. The alcohol is present, but it’s amazingly well integrated. With time and water it develops notes of malt and grain, with fragrant and aromatic peaks of dark sherry. Old leather, with dark chocolate and coffee. But OK, the coffee notes might come up to my nose just because I’m in Guatemala.

Taste: Very, very intense. I taste a fat pineapple with other tropical fruits dancing around and punching their way through my palate. The mango in particular seems restless, and you know that those mangoes know how to party. It’s really super tasty. Alcohol, red fruits, not bitter at all, really great. With water and a lot of time I think I taste something like… panettone? It’s a pleasure to drink it, with pepper and some herbal notes balancing that sweetness. Deep, not too dark and complex, a bit like the first episode of the first season of GoT. Hopefully the finish won’t be as disappointing as that last, awful season. It’s also a bit floral, and still fantastically, marvelously full of tropical fruits. And wonderfully tasty.

Finish: Quite long, it first comes back to that orange peel I found in the nose. And there is some liquorice too, hidden amidst layers of leather and pepper.

Overall: Amazing, I think it deserves a 92/100 in my book. and I wish to thank Mr. van Wees once again not only for the sample, but also for the great discussion I had the pleasure to have with him when I visited his shop in Amersfoort. Seriously, if you pass by it, don’t miss the chance to drop by and to pay this amazing place a visit!

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