A couple weeks ago, I visited my sister up in Boston. Her husband, my brother-in-law, is also a big fan of whiskies, so we I had a chance to enjoy a few drams of his collection.
One bottle sitting in his case was the Glenlivet 15 YO French Oak Reserve. It’s not rare or hard to find, I just haven’t had a sip of it in years. I have a bit of a history with Glenlivet, seeing as the 12 YO was my first, and the last time I tried Glenlivet 15 YO French Oak Reserve was at the distillery itself.
We’d gone up to Scotland for a few days during a month-long vacation through Europe and visited both Glenlivet and Macallan. We’d tried to sneak in Aberlour and Cardhu too but time just wasn’t on our side.
We went on the Glenlivet distillery tour and at the end, they give you a few samples to enjoy. You had the option of choosing a glass of 12 Year Old and 15 YO French Oak. The tour was free, so this was a great bonus!
My wife chose the 15 Year Old French Oak and I chose the 12 Year Old, a familiar favorite. My wife isn’t much of a whisky drinker so in reality, I got both (she was also our designated driver… which was a smart choice).
Taking a sip of the French Oak Reserve brought back memories of our trip, which was a nice reminder, but it also reminded me that it’s a delicious dram on its own.
On the nose, you get a hint of tart green apples mellowed with some sugary molassas. There’s a bit of fresh fruit but no citrus, a little vanilla.
On the palate, there’s very much the vanilla and apple, hint of caramel, and then spicy finish of Glenlivet, though mellowed out considerably compared to the 12 YO.
Finish is nice, doesn’t linger though and reminds you that it’s been aged in oak.
It’s a 40% abv whisky with a lighter amber color.
It’s like a friendly, mellower version of the 12 Year Old and interestingly enough, my wife remembers the tour guide saying that the 15 YO is marketed directly to women.
I don’t really know what that means per se but I remember him making that comment as well.
Either way, it was a nice remembrance of a Glenlivet I haven’t enjoyed in years.