Results 1-2of 2 Reviews
by Red Mezz
Inverness, Scotland, United Kingdom
November 20, 2011
From journal Scottish Whisky Trail
by Re Carroll
Abbotsford, British Columbia
September 28, 2003
The Visitors' Centre had an exhibit detailing Glenlivet’s humble beginnings as well as displays of some of the equipment used in the whisky making process. The second floor
featured a small cafe serving light meals, snacks and desserts. I really enjoyed Glenlivet ice cream, vanilla ice cream with a generous addition of whisky and would highly recommend it.
Glenlivet’s beginnings were quite colourful. During the 1800s, there were approx. two hundred small stills producing whisky in the Glenlivet area. The owners refused to pay duty to the government and smuggled the whisky to their customers via convoys with armed guards. Finally the Government reduced the amount of duty payable in order to encourage Highlanders to set up legal distilleries. In 1824, George Smith became the first person to take out a license and Glenlivet distillery was born. Needless to say, he was not very popular with fellow distillers and smugglers so he recruited family and friends to mount a round the clock armed guard for the distillery. Eventually the British soldiers closed all the illegal stills and Glenlivet became the only distillery in the area. The company has since been sold to a number of corporations including Seagrams of Canada and present owners Pernod Ricard.
Our tour was
supposed to last about 1/2 hour, but was closer to an hour, and our guide, Isobel, was
extremely friendly and informative. We learned that there is no bad whisky, "only some
that is better than others". As well as showing us the stages that the barley goes through, we were encouraged to taste the malted barley and the grist. The leftovers from the distilling process are used for cattle feed and we were offered a sample of that - the few people that did try it said it was very sour.
Isobel talked about illicit whisky making in the old days - sometimes the liquor was sold without any aging and was so potent that it would cause blindness and other health problems. Glenlivet is aged a minimum of 12 years and as long as 50 years for their Royal Salute which sells for £6,000 - definitely out of my league!
The tasting offered a choice of 12 year (#1 whisky in Canada and U.S. and #3 in the world), 18 year (Isobel called this the Sean Connery of whisky -- strong and sexy) and French Oak finish which is a bit sweeter than the other two. I had the 18 year and Jim the French Oak but we found them both too fiery, even with the addition of water.
Glenlivit is open from April to October - Monday to Sat. from 10 to 4 and Sundays from 12:30 to 4 and the tour is free. No photography is allowed inside the production area.
From journal Following the Whisky Trail