The newly released Glenlivet 15 Year French Oak Single Malt is a smooth, nutty must-have for whisky lovers. Glenlivet is owned by French owned Pernod Ricard, so it is not a surprise that Glenlivet is the only whisky to claim it ages some of its single malt whisky in new Limousin oak casks. Who knows how much of the bottle has ever been in French Oak and for how long. I am sure this will be kept a secret. Limousin oak is from the forests in the Dordogne region of France just in case you were wondering or want to pull out a map. These casks are much sought after for wine and cognac, so I imagine some Frenchmen are losing sleep knowing that whisky is being aged in their oak.
Colour: We have found that whiskeys that have aged longer sometimes seem to be darker but that is not always true. At 15 years, this whiskey pours a pure golden color that is not distinctive from other whiskeys.
Aroma: Surprisingly we did not immediately notice peat smoke. Most Scotch producers still make sure that the traditional smoke nose and taste is still present even though it might not be through traditional means. The Glenlivet 15 Year French Oak might be making a compromise by using the French oak to all but cover the Scot smoke. Who knows – it works. On top of the lack of smoke, there are hints of vanilla, oak (surprise), orange peel, and herbs. A touch of water releases much more oak and a more nutty aroma.
Taste: This whisky is extremely creamy. The 40% ABV strength and Scotch flavor is not what you’d expect in this one. The chocolate, velvety whisky has slight notes like over ripened tropical fruit. The wood notes help take this whisky from sweet to a bitter dry. The finish is very pleasant.