The Glenlivet 17 Year Old First Fill American Oak Barrel
We’ve got double Glenlivet goodness this month. The Club Exclusive Glenlivet 17 Year Old First-Fill American Oak Barrel is bottled at 56.1%ABV and is bursting with peaches, toffee, red apple, sweet mandarin rounded off with roasted almond and delicate oak.United Kingdom
Colour Golden Tan
Nose The aroma of juicy ripe peaches complements sweet lychee and the captivating combo of vanilla toffee and golden syrup.
Palate A citrus tang kicks off along with some deliciously fresh orchard fruits of soft red apple and sweet pears before being rounded off by an intense burst of lovely orange marmalade.
Finish Punchy and soothing. Light fruits team up with roast almonds and integrated oak.
This very special Glenlivet Single Cask release presents an extremely rare opportunity to savour the world’s biggest-selling single malt in its most natural state — bottled pure, straight from a single cask at natural cask strength.
Hand-selected by legendary Master Distiller Alan Winchester, Cask 29769 is a single First Fill ex-Bourbon American Oak Barrel that’s been slowly maturing in Glenlivet’s warehouse until the absolute Goldilocks moment when it was ready to be bottled at natural cask strength with no chill filtration.
This is the stuff of whisky dreams from the superstars of Speyside: a 17 year old American oak barrel bottled at 56.1% ABV, with peaches and toffee on the nose, red apple and poached pear with a sweet burst of mandarin rounded off with a satisfying finish of subtle fruit, roasted almond and delicate oak.
It’s a masterclass in whisky in every sip, and an example of why The Glenlivet is one of the world’s most enduring distilleries. But stock is painfully limited and exclusive to the Club, so don’t pass up this opportunity to taste the greatness that is The Glenlivet 17 Year Old First-Fill American Oak Barrel. This one sold out in mere moments. Not yet a Member? Sign Up Free to Australia's biggest whisky community now to get incredible single malt whiskies delivered straight to your door.
Age: 17 Years Old
Maturation: American Oak Ex Bourbon, cask number 29769
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Known as ‘the single malt that started it all’, Glenlivet Distillery was established in 1824 by farmer George Smith and was the first distillery in the Speyside region to be licensed under the new Excise Act of 1823. As we’ve explored in previous months, due to unfavourable legislation Scotland was a hotbed of illegal distillation for much of the 18th and early 19th century but the Excise Act provided a sensible framework upon which to bring the small operators in from the black market and create a scalable industry that has subsequently grown in to the multi-billion dollar powerhouse that it is today.
But things weren’t easy for Smith in the early days, because people had grown wealthy trading whisky on the black market, and there was a feeling that once one distillery went clean the rest would have to follow, bringing an end to the status quo. Resentment and friction from his old colleagues became so bad that at one stage he had to carry two pistols with him for protection. Fortunately he survived and prospered, and in 1858 Glenlivet expanded to meet demand, and expanded again a few years later to meet up with the new Spey Rail line which gave Smith access to markets in England and the rapidly expanding British Empire. George Smith passed away in 1871 leaving the distillery in the capable hands of his son John Gordon Smith, who’d helped him establish the business, and his grandson George Smith Grant.
They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and as Glenlivet’s reputation for quintessential light, fruity and floral Speyside malt grew, other local distilleries in the Livet Glen and beyond began to use the name Glenlivet, so much so that a joke from those days was that the name ‘Glenlivet’ meant ‘The Long Valley’ because so many distilleries were located there. Young George Smith Grant took them to court in 1881 and won the right to call his whiskies “The Glenlivet”, while only distilleries in the Livet Glen were allowed to use the hyphenated “- Glenlivet” in their names, a practice carried out until recently by neighbours Tamnavulin and Tomintoul.
Business continued to prosper and two more stills were added in 1897. Crucially, as with the other leading Scotch distilleries today, Glenlivet managed to survive both the Pattinson Crisis and the Great Depression. This put them in a fantastic position to capitalise on the end of prohibition in the USA where they are still in the top spot now. Glenlivet didn’t escape a mothballing during the Second World War however, by Government decree mind you, but by 1947 production levels were back to pre-war levels thanks to Britain’s post-war export drive to repay war debts. Overseas demand for Scotch made this an ideal export, and the distillery received preferential access to resources such as manpower, fuel and barley, despite ongoing bread rationing for the poor general population.
Glenlivet profited hugely from the 1950s Scotch boom and in 1953 merged with Glen Grant Distillery to form The Glenlivet and Glen Grant Distillers, Ltd. before a further merger with Hill Thomson & Co., Ltd. and Longmorn-Glenlivet Distilleries, Ltd. in 1970. They changed their name to Glenlivet Distillers Ltd in 1972 and were purchased by Canadian drinks and media company Seagram in 1977. Seagram sold their alcohol interests to Pernod Ricard and Diageo in 2000 with ownership of Glenlivet Distillers passing to Pernod Ricard, who later sold Glen Grant Distillery to Campari Group in 2005. By this time, thanks to careful stewardship from its owners, Glenlivet had become the second biggest selling single malt in the world and remained one of the world’s best known and loved whiskies.
As a testament to the distillery’s ongoing success none other than HRH The Prince of Wales opened a further extension in 2010. The addition of a mash tun, eight washbacks and six stills increased capacity by a whopping 75%. Today The Glenlivet is the best selling malt whisky in the USA and the fourth best selling in the UK. Glenlivet is also the world’s second best selling single malt whisky (after Glenfiddich at Number 1) with current sales at over 13.6 million bottles per annum. It’s widely regarded not only as the true embodiment of Speyside but also one of the greatest whiskies ever made.
The Glenlivet’s whiskies are noted above all others to best represent the modern Speyside style. In fact, George Smith’s greatest achievement, other than being the grandfather of the modern whisky industry, was creating a new style of whisky to become the house style of the entire Speyside region. He designed incredibly tall lantern shaped stills with wide necks that enabled the spirit to have maximum contact with the copper, while the height ensured that only the lightest vapour reached the top to condense and form a light, sweet, floral spirit with an estery character. This alternative to the heavy, dense and rich style of whisky produced in Speyside at the time proved to be hugely popular and remains so today.
The distillery’s 2010 expansion and refurbishment upgraded Glenlivet into one of the most modern distilleries in Speyside, featuring a vast Brigg’s mash tun, sixteen washbacks and a whopping fourteen stills with the capacity to produce a staggering 10.5 million litres a year. The stills continue to be made to the exact specifications of George’s original design as Glenlivet continues to produce the same signature style of single malt even after all these years.
The distillery draws water from Josie’s Well, supplemented by Blairfindy Well a short distance from the distillery, and malt comes from Crisp Malting in Portgordon. In terms of oak, The Glenlivet uses a mixture of traditional oak casks, American Oak ex-bourbon casks, ex-sherry, French Limousin oak and now ex-Cognac casks. Glenlivet has a well-stocked range that includes NAS, 12yo, 15yo, 18yo, 21yo, 25yo, 50yo, the cask-strength Nàdurra range and single cask range.
Origin: The Glenlivet Distillery , Ballindalloch, Banffshire, AB37 9DB, Scotland, United Kingdom
Water Source: Josie’s Well
Washbacks: 16, Wood
Stills: 7 wash and 7 spirit
Capacity: 10,500,000 litres of alcohol per year