The Glenlivet has recently collaborated with Innis & Gunn to produce a new limited edition whisky called The Glenlivet Distillery Reserve Collection: 9-Year-Old Beer Cask Finish Edition. This innovative whisky was crafted by finishing it in an Innis & Gunn beer cask that was previously used to mature their Vanishing Point Imperial Stout, a rich 11% ABV brew.
The beer cask finish imparts delightful aromas of golden syrup biscuits, dark cherry tart, and subtle treacle, which give way to honeycomb, nougat, and tropical fruit notes. On the palate, one can savor the spicy essence of ginger and freshly ground nutmeg, complemented by fruity hints from the hops, leading to a creamy and sweet malty finish.
This marks the first time The Glenlivet and the Chivas Brothers portfolio, of which The Glenlivet is a part, have ventured into beer cask finishing. The skilled team at The Glenlivet, led by cask expert Kevin Balmforth and distillery manager Lisa Glen, masterfully crafted this unique expression.
Kevin Balmforth expressed excitement about the experimentation involved in working with Innis & Gunn's casks, being their first foray into finishing whisky in a beer cask. He believes this release will appeal to both whisky and beer enthusiasts.
Dougal Gunn Sharp, founder and master brewer at Innis & Gunn, described the collaboration as natural and exciting, noting their shared passion for experimentation and innovation, as well as their common focus on the ingredients, grain, and casks used in their products. He highlighted the reciprocal exchange of casks between the two brands and how the Vanishing Point 06 was matured in former The Glenlivet casks, which were later used for finishing this Beer Cask Edition.
The Glenlivet, with its visionary heritage in the single malt category since 1824, offers this exclusive whisky for £95, available at The Glenlivet brand home and on their distillery website. It's a perfect choice for collectors and those seeking a unique and delightful beverage to raise a toast on International Beer Day.
Tasting Notes From The Glenlivit
Nose: The aroma presents a delightful combination of golden syrup biscuits, dark cherry tart, and subtle treacle, transitioning into honeycomb, nougat, and tropical fruit notes.
Palate: On the palate, one can experience a captivating blend of spicy ginger and freshly ground nutmeg, followed by subtle fruity hints from hops, culminating in creamy and sweet malty undertones.
Finish: The finish is characterized by a warming and spicy sensation.
About Beer Cask Finishes
Beer cask finishes in the context of whisky refer to a unique maturation technique where whisky is aged or "finished" in casks that previously held beer. This process involves transferring the matured whisky from its original aging cask (usually oak barrels) into casks that once contained beer, allowing the whisky to interact with the residual flavors and aromas from the beer.
The concept of beer cask finishes adds an innovative twist to traditional whisky aging methods, as it brings together two distinct beverage categories – whisky and beer. By using beer casks for finishing, whisky producers aim to impart additional flavor profiles and nuances to the final product, offering whisky enthusiasts new and exciting tasting experiences.
The beer cask finish can influence the whisky in several ways, depending on factors such as the type of beer previously held in the cask, the duration of the finishing period, and the interaction with the residual beer flavors in the wood. Some common effects of beer cask finishing on whisky include:
Flavor Infusion: The whisky may absorb various flavors from the beer, such as hops, malt, fruits, and spices, adding complexity and unique taste characteristics.
Aromas: Beer casks can contribute distinctive aromas to the whisky, ranging from floral and fruity notes to subtle hints of the original beer's characteristics.
Color: Depending on the beer's style and its impact on the cask, the whisky's color may be influenced, resulting in a deeper or slightly different hue.
Texture: The beer cask finish can impact the whisky's mouthfeel, creating a smoother, creamier, or even slightly effervescent sensation.
Sweetness: Some beer casks may impart residual sugars or sweetness, contributing to a more dessert-like profile in the finished whisky.
It's important to note that the impact of beer cask finishes can vary significantly based on the whisky's original characteristics and the type of beer cask used. Therefore, the process requires careful experimentation and expertise on the part of the whisky makers to achieve a balanced and harmonious final product.
While relatively uncommon, beer cask finishes have gained attention in recent years, as distilleries seek to innovate and create unique expressions that appeal to whisky enthusiasts and collectors. As with any unconventional aging technique, beer cask finishes offer an exciting avenue for exploration and the opportunity to craft whiskies with novel and distinct flavor profiles.
About The Glenlivet
The Glenlivet is a renowned Scotch whisky distillery located in the Speyside region of Scotland. It is one of the most famous and respected names in the world of single malt whisky. The distillery was established in 1824 by George Smith, who was one of the first distillers in Scotland to obtain a legal license for whisky production after the passing of the Excise Act of 1823.
The Glenlivet is known for its commitment to quality and craftsmanship, and it has played a significant role in shaping the whisky industry. One of the key factors contributing to its success is the use of natural spring water from Josie's Well, which is considered crucial in creating the distinctive character of their whisky.
The whisky produced at The Glenlivet is made using traditional methods, with a focus on using the best ingredients and precise distillation techniques. The spirit is typically aged in oak casks, which impart unique flavors and aromas to the whisky over time.
One of the defining characteristics of The Glenlivet is its smooth and approachable style, often described as floral, fruity, and well-balanced. It is appreciated by both whisky enthusiasts and newcomers to the world of single malts.
Over the years, The Glenlivet has released a wide range of expressions, from their classic 12-Year-Old to more aged and limited editions. Some of their whiskies have won numerous awards and accolades, further solidifying the distillery's reputation for excellence.
The Glenlivet continues to be a beloved and respected name in the whisky industry, offering a diverse portfolio of high-quality whiskies that cater to a broad range of palates and preferences. As of my last knowledge update in September 2021, The Glenlivet remains a cornerstone of the Scotch whisky world, valued for its history, craftsmanship, and exceptional single malts.