I’ve been threatening this review for a while. This Glenlivet 1977-2004 is the third of three Scott’s Selections bottles that I split last year with Michael K. (of Diving for Pearls), Jordan D. (of Chemistry of the Cocktail) and Florin (Craft Distiller of the Year). I’ve previously reviewed the Auchentoshan 1983 and the Bunnahabhain 1988 we got along with this one—I liked both, the Bunnahabhain more than the Auchentoshan. The Glenlivet I kept hearing iffy things about and that made me reluctant to move it to the front of the review line. But then Michael reviewed it last month and even though he didn’t love it, there was enough intriguing in his notes that made me finally get into it—especially his description of the fruity nose. I’m sorry to say that I didn’t get as much fruit off the nose as he did, but—considering I have another four ounces of this—I’m glad to say I liked it anyway. Here are my notes.
Glenlivet 1977-2004 (53.1%; Scott’s Selection; from a bottle split)
Nose: Citrus (lemon) and dusty wood and a sour aspirin-like note. After a minute or two the oak recedes and now it’s more cereally with some honey and a slight waxiness. (Unfortunately, I’m not getting the peach or mango Michael reported on the nose.) More acidic with water and the wood is more plywood’ish.
Palate: Pretty much as promised by the nose but with more wood (luckily, not tannic) and none of the sour aspirin. Nice, thick mouthfeel. More citrus as it goes and the oak gets more bite. Gets more sour as it goes but, again, nothing offensive (more cider than aspirin). The oak and the citrus get more integrated with a few drops of water but I sort of liked it better before.
Finish: Long. Prickly and oaky but not overbearingly so. At the very end there’s a hint of not exactly smoke but peat for sure. Less oaky with water.
Comments: I’m not usually a fan of oak-forward malts but somehow this one works for me. The oak is more prickly and spicy than it is tannic and frames the acidic notes nicely. It’s not terribly complex, or complex at all but it’s quite pleasant. More fruit and it could have been very good indeed. As it is, I’m fine with only having got a part of the bottle.
Rating: 85 points.