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The Glenlivet range, Edradour, El Dorado

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Part of a series of tasting notes from a monthly private whisky club in Mumbai, India.

Tasting Notes from 18 July 2013

In a slight departure from our standard format, we tried ‘blind’ four selections in rapid succession before they were revealed. Followed by a 5th whisky and a rum.

“Our host for the evening had a surprise in store! We were warned at the outset there would be 5 samples with four to be tried without revealing the whisky in question until all were tasted.”

Intrigued, our sampling began…

  1. Light in colour. Dismissed immediately as forgettable – nothing remarkable on the nose, palate or finish. A complete ‘light weight’ to be served at a party with drinkers who do not know any better.
  2. Richer gold in colour. Dried fruits like prune or apricot on the nose, sweetness maintained on the palate with a hint of spice. No whiff of peat however had a fresh forest dampness. Reasonable finish that stayed. An oddly ‘manufactured’ quality. Some promise if only could sample a cask strength version.
  3. Even deeper colour. Much sweeter than the 2nd option – notes of raisins and figs, more towards ‘brown sugar’. Smooth fruitiness on the palate. Lingering finish. Ditto on the sense of being vaguely ‘manufactured’, yet clearly preferred.
  4. Also strong amber colour. Nose not as sweet, more in the dried fruit range. Palate decidedly ‘dry’, edging to kokum with a chewy ‘rubber’ like quality, hints of clove-like spice, certainly greater complexity than the earlier samples. Lasting warm finish – chocolaty with a dash of cinnamon-spice. A few drops of water enhanced.

The unveiling shared a deliberate change to mix us up from an order which directly correlated to vintage / quality:

  1. Glenlivet 12 year – All perplexed that such a sad offering garners such popularity. The marvels of marketing?
  2. Glenlivet 18 year – While quite decent, terribly weak compared with other much more interesting 18 years like the old Highland Park, Hakushu, etc.
  3. Glenlivet 15 year – Tried again with a dash of water revealed a slightly more complex and spicy palate closer to the 18 year. Confirmed as the favourite.
  4. Glenlivet 21 year – Certainly not worthy of a 21 year price tag. Sorry folks!

    Glenlivet 12, 15, 18 + 21 year (Photo: Carissa Hickling)

    Glenlivet 12, 15, 18 + 21 year (Photo: Carissa Hickling)

The fifth sampling proved quite divisive with 50% enjoying, putting into the Abu’nadh family and 50% tasting the opposite. What was it? Edradour Caledonia 12 Year, a special single cask release selected by songwriter Douglas Maclean after his famous song Caledonia.

For those that enjoyed, nose was rich, figs, caramel, hint of oak woodiness. Bold on the palate, consistent with the nose revealing dark berries or dried fruits, retaining smoothness with a hint of nut. Finish held on with a spicy chocolate.

Caledonia Edrador (Photo: Carissa Hickling

Caledonia Edrador 12 year (Photo: Carissa Hickling)

Dinner was followed by a special digestif of a 15 year old rum – El Dorado. A delightful rich sipping rum that is almost cognac-like. Bold caramel on the nose, woody and fruity on the palate with a strong finish. It is no surprise this rum is award-winning!

El Dorado 15 year (Photo: Carissa Hickling)

El Dorado 15 year (Photo: Carissa Hickling)

Anyone else abysmally disappointed with Glenlivet? I’m also keen to explore more rums like the El Dorado…

PS For those curious, I liked the Edradour Calendonia. And as always, any errors or omissions in capturing impressions is my weakness!

For more posts on our tasting sessions and whisky explorations… check out my other blog Whisky Lady.

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