The Glenlivet Founder’s Reserve

The Glenlivet Founder’s Reserve(40%, OB, 2015)

  • Category: Speyside single malt scotch whisky
  • Origin: Glenlivet Distillery
  • Bottling: Official – Pernod Ricard
  • ABV: 40%
  • Cost: £22
  • Score: 84/100


What they say:

The Glenlivet is proud to introduce The Glenlivet Founder’s Reserve, a new single malt that has been almost 200 years in the making.

Created to honour the original vision of our pioneering founder George Smith, The Glenlivet Founder’s Reserve pays tribute to the uniquely smooth and fruity taste he first envisioned in 1824.

Distilled using the same time-honoured techniques introduced by George Smith himself, The Glenlivet Founder’s Reserve is drawn predominantly from a range of traditional aged oak casks. The fruity profile for which we are renowned is complemented by selective use of first-fill American oak casks, which impart a delicious, contemporary twist of creaminess. We believe an expression born of traditional craftsmanship and modern innovation is a fitting homage to the original innovator of The Glenlivet.

Gentle citrus aromas of sweet orange are followed by sweet and zesty notes of oranges and pears, with hints of candy and toffee apples. Exceptionally well-balanced and smooth, with a long, creamy finish.

Replacing The Glenlivet 12 Years Old in the UK from March 2015, The Glenlivet Founder’s Reserve is a dram that comes from 200 years of expertise.


What I say:

As part of the launch of The Glenlivet’s newest, and in some markets replacement for their 12 Years Old, expression the Founder’s Reserve – they have been travelling the country in conjunction with The Whisky Shop to present this and other expression in their core range to W club members and Glenlivet Guardians alike. The Founder’s Reserve reached Edinburgh on wednesday 25th February 2015, where I joined a select group to sample this with the Chivas Brand Ambassador James Collins. The Founder’s Reserve seems to be being introduced in the UK and Germany as a replacement for the 12 Years Old, however not in the US – currently the biggest consumers of the Glenlivet 12. So The Glenlivet are making a bold semi-move away from age statement whisky by introducing this replacement. Here’s what we thought of their newest expression:


Yellow amber gold (8/20), medium-light tears


Orchard fruits, pears and apples, pear drops and pineapple cubes sweeties, butter candy, toffee and caramel oak with vanilla hints, crème brulee, toffee apple, cereal barley grist and hints of honey sweetness


Fruity pears and apples, pear tart, fresh pear and apple juice, sweetened pineapple in syrup (tinned), buttery and oily and reasonably mouth-coating, lots of caramel, lightly caramelised sugar – on the verge of cloying but backed up by toffee, fudge and hints of butterscotch and leads into the faintest hints of spiced cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice, gingerbread or hazelnut latte


Medium, spiced and sweet toffee oak, a little drying cinnamon lingers


Very impressive, for a no-age statement whisky this had to be a bold flavour-led move by The Glenlivet and they have achieved this in spades. The fruity and light character from the 12 Year Old is here but is supported by a predominantly toffee/caramel from the 1st fill ex-bourbon casks. The result is lively and refreshing compared to the smooth and (for me) forgettable nature of the 12yo. Thankfully no evidence was found of overtly youthful spirit in this expression and the spices give this an interesting lift at the end without being too challenging or pervasive.

Don’t take my word for it:

See Matt’s review at Whisky For Everyone

Read what Steve thought at Somerset Whisky Blog

Categories: Glenlivet, Speyside

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