You may or may not have picked up on this, but there have been some rumors floating around about the discontinuation of The Glenlivet 12. These rumors stem from a couple different German websites. On Whisky.de for example, there is a short but clear statement: ‘Wird vom Markt genommen’, which translates to ‘Is taken from the market’. That’s quite the message, because The Glenlivet 12 is arguably (perhaps only trailing behind the 12yo Glenfiddich) the biggest single malt in the world.
To make matters worse: it was suggested on reddit that The Glenlivet 12 would be replaced by the new The Glenlivet Founder’s Reserve. So not only would the 12yo disappear, its replacement would be a No Age Statement-whisky. Sad news from a company that not that long ago launched a global campaign called The Age Matters.
For the last week or so I’ve been in contact with Pernod Ricard, the company that owns The Glenlivet, trying to get some answers. They’ve mostly been very helpful, although their initial answer left me with a lot of new questions. And Pernod Ricard has decided not to answer my follow ups because ‘that would require them to release competition-sensitive information’. But before I get ahead of myself, let’s start at the beginning.
Discontinued: yes or no?
This first answer is a short one: no. Which means that yes, the 12yo is and will stay part of the portfolio of The Glenlivet. Or in the exact words of the spokesperson from Pernod Ricard: “The Glenlivet 12 Year Old remains, and will remain, the biggest reference in The Glenlivet portfolio globally and the core reference for the brand.”
But as with a lot of things, this is a little bit more complicated. Because why then would a reputable retailer like Whisky.de announce that The Glenlivet 12 will disappear? The easiest way to explain this is to just show you the rest of the answer I received from Pernod Ricard.
“Founder’s Reserve will roll out in countries where whisky knowledge is strong, consumers are becoming more familiar with new concepts, are by far the most developed in their tastes and have the greater thirst for new products.
Whilst not all countries will stock both and some countries may stock one or the other, this is about us having an opportunity to explore The Glenlivet with a new expression that focuses on a key element of the brand and its heritage. We feel that the time is right to bring something brand new to our consumers.”
So to recap: The Glenlivet 12 will stay, the Founder’s Reserve will replace the 12yo in some countries and will be sold alongside it in others.
So now what?
So I had my answer, but I wasn’t really satisfied. I wanted more information. Below are the first questions that popped into my mind.
1. You’re saying that not all countries will stock both. Obviously Germany will be one of those countries. Is there a list of countries that will lose the 12yo, so to speak?
2. Does Pernod Ricard decide what countries get the 12yo, the Founder’s Reserve, or in some cases both? Or is that decision being made by local importers?
3. Looking at this worldwide, will there still be the same amount of 12yo available? Or does the introduction of The Founder’s Reserve mean there will be less? And if so, how much less 12yo will there be?
4. Regarding the previous question: if there will be less of the 12yo, is that because stock of 12yo Glenlivet is running low?
These are the exact questions I sent in reply to the initial response of Pernod Ricard. They replied to my first email within 24 hours, but after I asked my more in-depth questions things quickly went silent. It took over a week (along with some gentle pushing on my part) to get a final answer: “Sadly we can not provide you the exact details of the new launch because of competition-sensitive information.” Which was quickly followed by the company line: “The Glenlivet 12 Year Old remains, and will remain, the biggest reference in The Glenlivet portfolio globally and the core reference for the brand.”
I can understand that the people at Pernod Ricard don’t feel an obligation to provide a tiny blog like mine with all the information I asked for. But it is a shame though, because all I can do now is speculate, instead of providing you with facts.
What we now know is this: some countries will lose The Glenlivet 12. Germany is one of them, the others will remain a mystery for now. It is fair to conclude that although the 12yo will not be discontinued, it will be at least partly replaced by the Founder’s Reserve. So an Age Statement-whisky loses ground to a more profitable Non Age Statement-whisky. And 99 out of 100 times, that means that stock of 12yo whisky is running low at a distillery, in this case The Glenlivet.
Which is nothing to be ashamed of really. It is something that almost every distillery has to deal with right now. The good news: The Glenlivet have upped their capacity in 2010 by 75 percent, so it should be a matter of time before they have enough stock to bring back the 12yo to every corner of the world. On the other hand the Founder’s Reserve might turn out to be highly profitable. So the question that lingers most though is: will they?
UPDATE (February 7th 2015): Not long after I posted this blog, The Glenlivet sent out an email to their Guardians in the UK, announcing that the Founder’s Reserve will replace The Glenlivet 12 in the United Kingdom from March 2015. So that means we now know of two countries that will lose the 12yo: both Germany and the UK. If you read this and you know of other countries where the 12yo will be discontinued, please let me know in the comments below this article.
Great blog post – thanks for the info. I’m heading up to Glenlivet in a fortnight’s time as part of a press trip centred around the Founder’s Reserve, I’ll certainly be asking some awkward questions!
Thanks! Let me know if you find out anything interesting 🙂
Wow……. Ivan Thanks for the heads up.
Good work, it is fantastic to see blogs doing more than just reviewing the odd free sample.
Thanks Tom, that’s very kind of you. I wish I could bring interesting stories like this every week, but you don’t stumble on ’em that often. Tasting notes are other nice filling for this blog. And fun to do as well 🙂 and so far I haven’t received any free samples other than the odd participation in a tweet tasting. And if a sample were to be received free, I wouldn’t bezigste to state as much in the blog post.
Very Informative and Interesting, these aspects will allow us to be prepared for the; “So an Age Statement whisky loses ground to a more profitable Non Age Statement whisky.” in the near future.
Thank you and well done!
I work in a major independent liquor shop in Sydney, Australia. I’ve been informed by my boss that that pernod ricard has discontinued the glenlivet 12 year old and is being replaced with the glenlivet founders reserve. Prices for the glenlivet 12 year old have increased by $5-$10 across all major liquor outlets in Sydney.
Sounds good… Appreciable blog!
In The Netherlands (Holland) the 12-year is also out of stock and replaced with the Fouders Reserve.
Sad news the 12yr is sold out in Toronto Canada and is replaced with the non-year. Not happy 🙁
Excellent and informative update – thank you for your research and sharing. What might your suggestion be for choosing a reasonably close substitute for the discontinued Glenlivet –
I am from South East Asia(Malaysia). I’ve been informed that most mature markets replaced Glenlivet 12 to Founder’s Reserve. I frequent drink outlets in Kuala Lumpur.
I have tasted the GLivet Reserve…it tastes pretty good..an edge over GLivet 12.
But there are die-hards who still wish for Glenlivet 12.
I would like to know if the distributors have the rights to stop Glenlivet 12 to circulate in Malaysian market…or its just because of higher selling price for the Reserve. Thank you
The Glenlivet 12 YO is no longer available at New Delhi Duty Free, Singapore Duty Free and Dubai Duty Free outlets. Replaced by probably Glenlivet MDR ( Masrers Distillery Reserve)
Here in Los Angeles, glen 12 is freely available everywhere I go for $28-45 a bottle
I’ve just sent a very disgruntled email to Glenlivet asking them when they will export it to Australia again. Not at all happy about the withdrawal and the Founder Reserve is sh^t! They must be losing a heck of a lot of market share with this move. Would love the insider information on why they’ve withdrawn it, would be a lot more palatable to hear they’ve run out but then why are they still selling it in the USA.
The 12 Y Glenlivet has been discontinued here in Ottawa, our nation’s capital and home of the British High Commission, not very happy, have not yet seen the Founder’s Reserve on the shelves yet, but at least I can still get my pallet on a bottle of 12yo the Glenfiddich……
Well this is of interest to me as I was practically raised on this stuff by my Scottish gram who would make me hot toddy’s with the Glenlivet when I was sick. as a child, so I guess you could say I developed a taste for it early on. Over the past few years I have noticed a real decline in the quality and lack of what used to be the dependable consistency of the Glenlivet 12. It has gone from the lovely light sweet with just enough bite to often very soapy and “gone off” tasting to me. I thought for the first couple times I had just gotten a bad bottle but I literally just purchased my fourth “bad bottle”. Something is going on here and I am one very disheartened fan of the old “12”.
I have unopened bottle in mint condition, The Glenlivet Single Malt Scotch Whiskey 12 years of age 700ml bottle date stamped on bottle 2013/08/02 could you please advise me of its value I’m in Australia
Hi Kaye, despite being discontinued in some markets, a bottle of Glenlivet 12 is not exactly rare. It’s worth about EUR 30. Better to drink and enjoy it, as this is not exactly an investment.
I’ve enjoyed half bottles of Glenlivet 12yo from the corner 7/11 while on holiday in Kaohsiung over the last week.
In the United States, they are selling Founder’s alongside what is called 12 year old Double Oak. My retailer is telling me its the same as standard 12 year, but my taste buds say he is lying. Looks like I’ll have to choose a different everyday single malt. Too bad really. . . .