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Friday, August 12, 2016

Single Malt Report: Glenlivet 33 year old 1981 Signatory for K&L Wine Merchants, cask 9459

Let's finish off this three-fer with one last big hit.  Much older than the previous two whiskies, 33 vs 19 vs 19, this Glenlivet comes from a refill sherry cask rather than a first fill.  And it's from a hogshead, rather than a butt.  A hogshead holds approximately half the volume of a butt, so there's more oak-to-spirit contact but since this is a refill it'll be interesting to see if that balances out the cask influence.

Ah ha! An actual bottle pic.
Like Wednesday's whisky, this Signatory was sold exclusively through K&L Wine Merchants.  The hoggie's bottle count is down to 115, so either this cask was split with another retailer or the angel's did some fair work over 33 years.

Like Wednesday's whisky there aren't many reviews online (aside from LAWS this time). Again, there's no listing for it in Whiskybase.  On a curious note, casks 9454 (34yo) and 9463 (33yo) are from the same distillation year (one with the same distillation date) have the same exact ABV.  What's the chance of that happening?  Is it a conspiracy or totally meaningless?  I'll go with the latter.....for now.  ;-)

As with the 29yo Longmorn I reviewed in June, this sample came into my possession via my installation as the substitute LA Scotch Club host for the K&L Strikes Back event at Lost Property in Hollywood on April 10th.  It was the most desired whisky that evening.  I'm first trying it now.

And, of course, a sample pic.
Distillery: Glenlivet
Ownership: Pernod Ricard
Independent Bottler: Signatory
Age: 33 years (November 5, 1981 - July 8, 2015)
Maturation: refill sherry hogshead
Cask#: 9459
Bottle count: 41 of 115
Alcohol by Volume: 51.1%
Chillfiltered? No
Caramel Colorant? No
Exclusive to: K&L Wine Merchants

Its color is a dark orange gold, the lightest tone of the three whiskies.  The nose starts off with molasses chews, York Peppermint Patties, orange peel, and toffee pudding.  A slight seaweed note wafts in sometimes.  There are baked pears (a la old Calvados Domfrontais), sugar cookies, and perky fresh ginger.  After 30+ minutes in the glass, it picks up cherry liqueur and a subtle mizunara-like sandalwood note.  The palate is very pleasant at this strength, so I won't be adding water.  There are cherry candies and mango candies balanced by bitter baking chocolate.  Fresh raspberries, coffee beans, and a mild oak note.  After 30 minutes, the palate gains a lovely orange note and some of the nose's cookies.  It finishes with lollipops, strawberry jello, maraschino cherries, and bitter chocolate.  A moment of the good orange note too.  It more spicy than sweet, really, overall.  After a lot of time in the glass, the bitterness grows and some American oak shows up.

Winner Winner Whisky Dinner!  As good as the nose's notes may sound, I think the palate's even better.  It's merely very good until the oranges and cookies jump in, and then...yeah.  It never reads as a sherry bomb, so the refill choice served the whisky very well.  There's a grace in its age that one can't fake by trying to squeeze in more oak over a shorter period of time.  I'm guessing that American oak was used for the hogshead, which is not a problem.  I do think the wood eventually gets a bit invasive in the finish after awhile, keeping this thing from soaring even higher.  But it's a still an excellent cask and a great selection by K&L.

Availability - Sold out
Pricing - $400
Rating - 91

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