22 February 2012

The Glenlivet Cellar Collection 1980 "I Glen Love It"

It has to be said that there’s something rather poetic and dare I say romantic about being able to sample whisky in the surroundings of its own distillery. The multitude of malty aromas that exude from the various stages of production and even the damp earthiness from within the dunnage warehouses all add to the sense of dramming occasion. Not to mention being steeped and surrounded in a wealth of history and in the case of the Glenlivet Distillery, having all the aforementioned caught up and complemented by the sprawley Speyside air.

During a visit to the distillery last year, not only was I fortunate enough to enjoy a series of core range and straight from the cask samples, I also had my first encounter with one of their Cellar Collection bottlings. Infact it was a huge honour as the said dram was from 1959, and to this very day I’m still blown away by its full on, feisty, freshness.

Still in awe of this experience, I wasn’t remotely hesitant when asked recently if I would be interested in sampling the latest edition to the collection in the form of their 1980 bottling. Truly limited in every sense of the word to just 500 bottles, this is an exceptional drop of dramage that’s distinctly livet all the way, but with added touch of class and even a hint of the Caribbean.

The nose kicks off with a bountiful bluster-ette of banana based delights, consisting of the yellow foam variety from a pick and mix, an over ripened bunch that have been sitting idle in a fruit bowl and a freshly baked loaf topped with a cheeky pinch of smoked cayenne pepper.

A Muller peach and apricot fruit corner yogurt with a very rye-esque follow through make for the next set of delights, along with a small bowl of Kirsch soaked cherries and punnet of freshly picked blackberries that seem to have something subtly anise-ish about them.

The fruity frolics continue with a leisurely unhurried oak based infusion of pear and pineapple, but before things get ridiculously too healthy, there’s a lingering arrival of Jamaican ginger cake and the waft of someone opening a box of After Eight mint chocolates.

The palate kicks off with a floaty fresh flounce of slightly unripened bananas, Seville oranges and dried lime peel. Followed by cinnamon stick infused poached pears and some rather beautifully balanced oak and ginger interplay.

A big comforting portion of blackberry and apple crumble covered in a big glug of vanilla custard make for the next set of palatable pleasures, along with a box of Paynes mint cream Poppets and a hit of something crisp and vinous.

This really is a dram that likes to keep on giving and delivering its wares magnificently until you have the will power to put down your glass. But once you do you’re treated to a totally tantalising tropical treat of a finish that lingers on and on and on and on into the night.

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