It’s been over a year since Pernod Ricard announced the Founder’s Reserve as the replacement for the Glenlivet 12yo (in mature markets, that is). It’s been an unpopular decision among whisky enthusiasts. Not because the 12yo will be sorely missed, but more because of what the decision stands for: age statement whiskies getting replaced in favor of whiskies without an age statement. And because in this particular case were talking about the biggest single malt whisky in the world, it hurts a bit more than usual.
The Founder’s Reserve has been received with mixed reviews. Plenty of people were underwhelmed. In the big Blind Tasting Project on Oliver Klimek’s excellent Dramming.com, the Founder’s Reserve was beaten convincingly by the Glenlivet 12yo. But there are also people who seem to prefer the Founder’s Reserve, as became evident during a smaller blind tasting written about on Whisky Lassie.
That’s enough background information for now. Let’s get on with my tasting notes.
The Glenlivet Founder’s Reserve (40%, OB, 2015)
Nose: Pretty floral, perfume-y almost, with honey and red apples. Butter, toffee and lemon rasp. Taste: Very bland. Some spices (cumin and a touch of pepper for example), honey and vanilla. A feint fruitiness. Finish: One of the shorter finishes I’ve experienced. Vanilla and earl grey.
An easy-going malt, but unimpressive. Especially the lack of depth is what makes the Founder’s Reserve score below par for me. Meaning that I feel a distillery’s flagship malt should score at least 80 points.