...where distraction is the main attraction.

Monday, August 1, 2022

Two batches of Glenlivet XXV

I don't know, people. Can we trust that this a 25 year old whisky? Maybe "XXV" is really a Code, wrapped in an Enigma, excreted by a Guardian and filtered through a Cipher, ultimately revealing it to be Gaelic for "LOL, you sucker."

And, for the sake of this review, I will assume that the "25YO" on the label does not mean "I, 25". Bingo.

I got jokes. Somewhere.

The XXV releases began in 2007 and continued up through 2021. I'm not sure if a 2022 batch exists yet, but raise your hand if you're worried about that..........Cool. The XXV batches all appear to have been finished in 1st fill Oloroso casks for an unstated period of time, which only leads me to ask, "Glenlivet, WTF was wrong with your 25YO whisky?"

It has been a long time since I drank Glenlivet's 18 and 21 year olds, but I used to find them very friendly and fruity. This will be my first time trying the XXV, because apparently four extra years (and that sherry finish) require the price to jump 75% from the 21YO's spot, and that never motivates me. So though this may not be as sexy as last week's Glengoyne 25yo Taste Off, I have been looking forward to this duo.


Glenlivet 25 year old, batch 0419E (2019), 43%abv

Mostly American oak on the nose. Lumber, banana pudding, vanilla and pineapple. That's it, at first. The whisky takes more than 30 minutes to open up, finally revealing mango, yellow nectarine, Heath Bar and a hint of dunnage.

The palate shows a surprising level of heat. Spicy cigars, toffee, tapioca pudding and sweet paprika fill the foreground, with lots of salt in the middle, and hints of Kasugai gummies in the back.

It finishes with moderate bitterness and sweetness, along with plenty of cigar notes. More bitterness, ash and salt appear in later sips.


Glenlivet 25 year old, batch 0220F (2020), 43%abv

The nose begins with vanilla, orange and urine. Like the other batch, 0220F takes a while to shift gears, eventually blossoming after the 40 minute mark. That's when all the peaches appear, along with white chocolate, toasted oak, kelp and old newspapers.

Spirit and oak battle it out in the palate. Woody bitterness meets a light sweetness. Ash and oranges. Cream soda, guava and black pepper.

In early sips, ash and oranges make up most of the finish. But later on, menthol and chile oil replace the ash, then more vanilla beans and tart citrus fruits arrive.


That was not what I'd expected. Both noses began oddly, later blooming into the highlight of each whisky.  In fact, 0220F's sniffer turned out to be excellent, it just needed time to get there. Neither whisky's palate came together like a drinker would expect from a sizable batch of mass-produced 25 year old scotch. Batch 0419E's finish was the weakest point, giving 0220F the advantage overall. While both were decent whiskies, I don't see them topping the Glenlivet 18s and 21s I've had, resulting very weak QPRs for this $500+ single malt. Now that I've tried Glenlivet XXV, it's time to move on.

Glenlivet XXV, batch 0419E - 82
Glenlivet XXV, batch 0220F - 85

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