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Tasting notes for Glenlivet 12 year old (New vs. Smith’s)

I obtained an old Smith’s Glenlivet at auction November of 2003.  For my first taste of it, I had my wife pour a sample of the Smith’s and a sample from a newly opened modern 12 year old O.B., and I tasted them blind.  One tasted dusty and tired, the other was bright and vibrant.  I made my guess as to which was which.  I was wrong.  Read on.

New
Distillery bottling
40% a.b.v.

Nose shows Red Delicious apple and oxidized red delicious apple core, green apple, oak barrel, light bourbon, cinnamon, calvados, fresh hay, a bit of sherry, and the aromas of a wine maturation warehouse.  It is pleasantly sweet.  On the palate it is smooth, moving to warmth, with flavors of malt and nutmeg and a wisp of smoke.  Slight sherry influence.  Slightly dusty and tired.  In the finish, smoky apple, oak fire, and burning paper.  Not great, a bit fatigued, and a bit reminiscent of the Hart Brothers Highland Park 10 year old.

 
Smith’s
Distillery bottling
70° proof

Nose is clean and very sweet, with Bartlett pear, vanilla, rum, oak chip, maple, root beer, and a pronounced licorice-mint note.  On the palate it is excellent, sweet and treacley, Dalmoreish, showing vanilla rum.  It is substantial, creamy, perky and vibrant, and seems tuned to American tastes.  A commercial, accessible finish that is very sweet, rummy, and linen textured, with the flavor of chardonnay.  Truly a great bottling.

Suggested for:
Aperitif
 
Suggested for:
Early evening, or aperitif

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