Glenlivet - Archive 21 Year OldSpeyside Whisky
Colour - Amber with sparkling copper shades.
Nose - Without water: Opulent, mature. Sherry influence. An intricate array of fruit and wood. Christmas cake-like. Sultanas. Maraschino cherry. Thick-cut marmalade. Oak panels in an old church. A cedary touch. Balsamic spices. Cubebe pepper. A hint of eucalyptus. Tropical hardwood. Oak soon gives way to malty notes. Citrussy freshness. Orange and kumquat peel. Some cakey notes. A reminder of Grand Marnier souffle.
With water: Water enlightens the fruity bouquet and brings out vanilla notes. Lighter notes of ripe peaches. Pear and marzipan pie. Luscious barley sugar aromas.
Palate: Without water: Unctuous. Mouth coating, almost syrupy. Full-bodied. Sultana cake. Ginger biscuits. Oak holds the reins back, releasing a drying spiciness. Cinnamon and ginger. A touch of hot paprika. Walnut and raisins dark chocolate.
With water: More sweetness but wood and fruit are not so well integrated. A watery gap at mid-palate. And a bitter note in the finish. Bare oakiness shows up a little blatantly.
Finish: Everlasting, warming. Nutty. Toasted hazelnuts. A full layer of liquorice.
A whisky so well knitted. The most oaky and least floral of the range of Glenlivet. But age and a particular selection of casks has achieved a distinguished maturity, almost intimidating. Sherry notes give depth to the distillery character and a cakey sweetness. Aromas are perfectly melted, especially when The Glenlivet 21 Year Old is enjoyed without water. Wood is well integrated but firmly frames the aromatic palette. A very special dram to enjoy with dark chocolate and let pleasure linger late in the night.