Imbibing a dram of effective single malt scotch has all the time been one thing of a ritualistic pursuit. Purists will insist that the spirit ought to actually solely be sampled neat, or maybe with a splash of water. It could even be acceptable to drop a dice of ice or two into your tumbler. Including the rest could possibly be deemed to decrease the flavour and the delicate notes of the spirit. And utilizing premium single malt with a mixer? Some would take into account that sacrilege.
However issues have been altering at a lot of Scotland’s extra conventional distilleries over the previous decade or so. For instance, take The Glenlivet, the unique producer of the Speyside fashion of fruity and floral single malt. Being the primary distiller to take out a licence to distil legally within the Livet Valley in 1824, in addition to the primary to import its scotch into the US following the tip of prohibition in 1933, provides this traditional Scottish distillery a storied heritage. Nevertheless, relating to flavour, The Glenlivet hasn’t been afraid so as to add some up to date twists to its traditional fashion over the previous few years.
“A decade in the past the most important debate when it got here to scotch whisky actually was: ‘Do you drink it neat or with water?’” says Alex Robertson, The Glenlivet’s head of heritage and training. “However now I feel that single malts are seen as being thrilling, energetic and trendy – and I feel that’s a worldwide view lately. Within the case of The Glenlivet, we’re pushing our flavour boundaries in several instructions to fulfill that new, dynamic viewers.”
However the place has this new viewers come from? Robertson factors to the philosophy of “ingesting your personal method”, which has gathered tempo in recent times, however he’s additionally eager to acknowledge the rising numbers of individuals with an curiosity within the particulars of single malt whisky. “Right this moment’s drinkers are refined, they perceive scotch whisky they usually perceive its traditions,” he says. “However they’re all the time searching for one thing new.”
Many, nonetheless, see single malt as being very removed from something new. All scotch whisky has been constituted of three primary elements – water, barley and yeast – for the reason that 1820s, and produced by way of the easy processes of malting, milling, mashing, fermentation and distillation. At The Glenlivet the fashion of the tall copper pot stills, wherein the spirit is produced, has remained comparatively unchanged for the reason that firm’s beginnings virtually 200 years in the past.
The Glenlivet has been made on its present web site since 1859 and the first supply for the mineral wealthy water it makes use of within the distilling course of nonetheless comes from Josie’s Properly – a close-by pure spring. The corporate’s mantra of “unique by custom” is actually stamped on the distillery’s manufacturing course of, the outcomes of which produce a easy, balanced spirit, characterised by notes of pineapple, toffee and banana. That is the traditional The Glenlivet fashion, which applies to its complete core vary of single malts – from The Glenlivet 12 12 months Outdated as much as The Glenlivet 25 12 months Outdated. Because the whisky will get older the flavours begin to change, from vanilla to toffee, milk chocolate to darkish chocolate, apples, bananas and tropical fruit to raisins and sultanas. And for the reason that 1820s, it has all the time been so.
However relating to producing unique flavour profiles to satisfy that refined new viewers, The Glenlivet’s distillers have two essential components open to them – time and cask sort. “In an effort to innovate and replicate in your traditions, you’ve bought to first have a look at your signature fashion – in our case it’s these fruity, floral flavours – then begin to experiment with totally different cask sorts, totally different finishes, totally different years,” says Robertson.
“So long as they’re manufactured from oak, the casks we use can have contained just about something – oloroso sherry, cognac, Caribbean rum. What the casks do, primarily, is extract some flavours whereas additionally including fruity flavours that improve the smoothness of the whisky. Our distillers have to make sure, nonetheless, that the bottom spirit is similar on the coronary heart of each single bottle,” he says. “The cask must not ever dominate the flavour. We primarily play totally different notes with every cask, however the melody stays the identical.”
The outcomes of this innovation at The Glenlivet have produced quite a few new drinks, amongst them The Glenlivet Caribbean Reserve and The Glenlivet Captain’s Reserve, each of which have been selectively completed in casks which have beforehand contained Caribbean rum or cognac, respectively.
Robertson sees the cocktail as the subsequent logical step in direction of increasing the attraction of single malts, whereas additionally sustaining their basic essence. “Let’s stretch this flavour and complement that flavour, whereas ensuring to not lose the flavour from the guts of the drink, the bottom spirit, within the first occasion,” he says.
“Think about utilizing The Glenlivet 18 12 months Outdated for a cocktail like an Outdated Customary. Simply consider all of the character within the flavour. You’re taking a luxurious scotch whisky that has been matured for 18 years and utilizing it in a traditional cocktail. They’re completely matched.”
In the end, single malt whisky needs to be extra accessible and simpler to drink. “There’s completely no thriller to tasting scotch,” says Robertson. “You must drink scotch whisky as you prefer it. Go to a bar lately and also you’ll see individuals ingesting whisky with water, on ice, as a part of a tall drink, as a part of a cocktail. Our ingesting habits ought to actually be as unique as we’re.”
Unique by Custom
The Glenlivet is the unique Speyside Single Malt and has been breaking traditions to set new requirements in whisky since 1824. Uncover the one malt that began all of it at theglenlivet.com