Glenlivet’s Tasting Room “Torture Chamber”

I just read Alyssa Bereznak’s description of how she was introduced to Glenlivet Alpha by way of a sensory deprivation chamber and a process that I thought would be fun. She described it as a torture chamber!

We were ordered to “nose” the glass. “Really allow that magnificent bouquet to waft over you,” he said, barring us from actually “mouthing” the glass, which is what most of us were there to do. Our guards quickly removed the tumblers from our hands and replaced them with one full of fragrant cinnamon. We were forced to inhale. My throat threatened to cinch itself shut.

Next came a container of fresh-baked oatmeal cookies, which we were not allowed to eat, only fleetingly sniff. In a move straight out of Torture 101, the tin was torn from our hands after the briefest of sniffs. They were trying to break our spirits.

Next came the scent of liquid vanilla extract. Then came more “nosing.” How much can one person endure?

One of the most fun experiences I had was when I visited The Macallan and took their distiller tour. Part of the tour included a hallway filled with glass jars of various common “notes” people mention when talking scotch. It was there that I learned the huge difference in what experts mean when they say dry fruit versus fresh fruit.

What Alyssa describes as torture, I think would be a lot of fun. 🙂

7 thoughts on “Glenlivet’s Tasting Room “Torture Chamber”

  1. Jim, I have drank Glenlivet 12 and 15 and love them, but am new to scotch and want to try something new – I bought bowmore legend and it was horrible (to my taste) and I threw it away, too peaty I think; I also tried Glenfiddich 12 – okay but too fruity. Can you reccomend any Scotch under 80 dollars or so like Glenlivet but not like those I just mentioned? Thanks for any help, great blog!

    • Bowmore is going to have a lot more peat and smoke, it’s a Islay. I wish you hadn’t thrown it away though… 🙂

      It sounds like you want to stick with Speysides, which have a more floral and fruity element. If you don’t like fruit, I’m thinking you might want to give Balvenie a try. The Double Wood is one of my favorites, it’s probably around $45, and it’s not fruity but is still sweet, vanilla, and caramel.

  2. Jim, thanks for that great suggestion – I will give Balvenie a try as soon as I can find it somewhere local! I have heard Glenlivet described as fruity too, so that may not have been my best characterization of Glennfiddich, but whatever that difference is between them I didn’t care for; yes the Bowmore Legend, I know it may be a good scotch – I just want to emphasize I am new and it was just my tastes; I kind of felt it could grow on you, but I guess I just like Glenlivet 15 so much it. Before I saw your posting here I went and bought Glenmorangie 10 – it was on sale so what the hell and Aberlour 12 which I saw on your blog post about best scotch under $100 – and it was a Speyside which I think is what I need like you said – so going to give these a shot too, thanks for the help.

  3. Jim, sorry to bother you again, but if you have time I would really appreciate it; I tried the Glenmorangie Original and it was fruity and I couldn’t stand the taste; I tried the Aberlour 12 and it was more tolerable, but barely – too much sherry I think? I couldn’t stand it either. I saw my liquor store has Balvenie Doublewood, but it said it’s aged in sherry wood (like Aberlour 12 said..) – will the Balvenie taste anything like the Aberlour ? Thanks for any help, I am going broke trying to find a scotch like glenlivet – beginning to think I like glenlivet – not scotch, haha

    • I don’t remember Aberlour but Double Wood is going to be sweet because it’s finished in Sherry… maybe you should stick to Glenlivet? 🙂

  4. On my recent travel through Heathrow, I bought a scotch made by Dewar’s named Aberfeldy. Has a light fruity flavor, but keeps the Dewar’s quality intact. Loved it. Was good neat or on the rocks.
    I also had a Glenlivet 15 years, but my wife threw it away after one of our fights 🙁 Poor scotch was a unfortunate victim!

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