I remind you that the theme for this week’s reviews is older whiskies bottled by Mackillop’s Choice. And they were distilled in consecutive decades. First up on Monday was a 41 yo Tomintoul that was distilled in 1966. Next up is a Glenlivet that is roughly a decade younger and was distilled roughly a decade later. This is not my first review, as it happens, of a Glenlivet distilled in 1977. I’ve previously reviewed a 1977-2004 release from Scott’s Selection—who, like Mackillop’s Choice—were once a reliable source in the US for solid older whiskies at reasonable prices. Unlike Scott’s Selection, however, Mackillop’s Choice is still a going concern—or at least it was a few years ago. If anyone knows if they’re still bottling casks on the regular, please write in below. Anyway, I quite liked that Scott’s Selection Glenlivet 1977-2004, even as I noted that it was quite oak-forward. I’m hoping that this cask might have a little less oak and a little more fruit. Let’s see if that pans out at all.
Glenlivet 30, 1977 (43%; Mackillop’s Choice; from a bottle split)
Nose: A pleasant, mildly fruity nose, with some lemon, some apple and some prickly oak. Quite a bit sweeter on the second sniff—lemon bars with lots of powdered sugar. Gets milder with time and air. With a touch of water there’s a bit more oak, some cereals and a hint of pineapple.
Palate: Comes in as advertised by the nose but there’s an unexpected dose of smoke as I swallow. Packs a decent bite at 43% but the texture is a bit thin. That smoky note merges with the sweeter notes as it goes and there’s more oak. Water pulls out some wet stones and a bit of camphor.
Finish: Long. That smoky note expands as it goes and oddly the texture seems to get richer after the initial thinness. Develops as on the palate, with some bitter oak displacing the smoke. As on the palate with water.
Comments: A very pleasant older whisky—and yes, a little less oak and a little more fruit than in the Scott’s bottle. Still, there’s nothing here to get very excited about—but it’s an interesting mix of notes. I’m sure it would have been better still closer to 50%. Did I imagine that smoke? Would love to hear from anyone else who’s tried this.
Rating: 86 points.