The Glenlivet's Groundbreaking New Scotch Is Rare, Delicious, and Surprisingly Affordable
The Glenlivet has released everything from rum cask and triple cask finishes to limited-edition reserve collections. But the Speyside distillery is often unfairly associated with the past, whereas other whiskies are known as go-tos for the “modern” Scotch drinker. After all, I knew The Glenlivet as a staple of my father’s bar.
The Glenlivet Rum and Bourbon Fusion Cask Selection changes all that. In a first for Scotch, the new bottling has been finished in bespoke casks crafted from a combination of first-fill rum and bourbon barrels, meaning they were previously used to distill those respective liquors. By finishing the new Scotch in these casks, it absorbs rum and bourbon characteristics, giving it a unique flavor profile.
“The bourbon casks come straight from the U.S.,” says Kevin Balmforth, The Glenlivet cask expert and blending manager. They fill Scotch casks with Caribbean rum for a few months to impart the flavor. “Then we take the rum out of the cask and that then gives us the first-fill rum cask. So, we then take the first fill rum casks and first-fill bourbon casks and deconstruct them and put ’em together,” he says.
“The easiest way we thought we could build a fusion cask was to take one rum cask, one bourbon cask, and swap the ends,” Kevin adds. “So then you end up with a rum cask with bourbon ends and then vice versa. And then you mix them.”
The resulting whisky offers aromas of orange, vanilla custard, caramel, coconut and zest of lemon. The palate features juicy apricot and peach, fresh orchard fruits, toffee-covered bananas and subtle cinnamon spice. The finish is sweet and smooth with enduring orange notes.
The Glenlivet Rum and Bourbon Fusion Cask Selection is priced at a suggest retail price of $100.