Glenlivet Caribbean Reserve – the famous Scotch Whisky is jazzed up with a taste of tropical sunshine, spirit and soul.
The Glenlivet Scotch Whisky Company is part of the Pernod Ricard global drinks portfolio, producing 21 million litres of spirit each year, and one of, if not the best selling single malt whisky in the United States. The Glenlivet 18 year old, for instance, has won numerous awards, winning five double golds at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition.
With the tagline, “Original by tradition” The Glenlivet has always been innovative to keep up to date with popular trends. Now their first Single Malt to be finished in rum barrels brings the sunny spirit of the Spice islands in the West Indies to the Scottish Highlands with the launch of The Glenlivet Caribbean Reserve.
“My biggest challenge at The Glenlivet has always been ..consistency of style.. It’s important for us not to become complacent, and to ensure The Glenlivet stands the test of time in quality and in depth of range.” Alan Winchester, Master Distiller
“The Glenlivet Caribbean Reserve is looking to extend that summer feeling, another example of us setting new standards, this time by turning the typical into the tropical.’ Marnie Corrigan, Brand Director, Whiskies, Pernod Ricard UK.
Described as offering a sweet, citrus, fruity and caramel taste, it can be enjoyed neat, on the rocks or in a selection of cocktails such as the signature Caribbean-inspired tipple, Tartan Tiki.
Before we sample this inspiring new Single Malt Whisky, let’s go back to the start of the journey almost two hundred years ago.
A remote Scottish glen in Speyside, through which the River Livet flows, surrounded by hills and fresh water springs, was where George Smith learnt the craft of distilling spirits, creating a characteristic, delicately balanced, malt whisky.
In August 1822, King George IV arrived in Scotland for a state visit and asked to try this fine, yet illicit, whisky. Glenlivet soon became the byword for the best in whisky, and 1824 George Smith was granted the first legal licence to produce the official Glenlivet whisky.
Unfortunately, local whisky makers wanted to destroy this successful business with Royal and aristocratic patronage, such that Smith had to carry a pair of pistols to warn off smugglers to protect his treasure of precious golden spirit.
By 1852, the novelist Charles Dickens was a rich man with an astute taste for good things in life; he wrote a letter to a friend recommending the “rare old Glenlivet” as a fine single malt whisky, which was above his great expectations!.
The distillery remained in family hands over the generations, taken over by the founder’s great nephew, Captain Bill Smith Grant in 1921, having to deal with severe loss of sales during the Prohibition era. To woo American drinkers back after its repeal, he forged a partnership with the Pullman Train company which served miniature bottles of Glenlivet whisky – spreading the word and the taste across the United States.
1950 – The Glenlivet is now the most popular Scotch whisky sold in the USA and through increased global travel, it’s promoted worldwide.
2015 – Master Distiller, Alan Winchester, creates a speciality single malt, the Founders Reserve, to capture the original smooth, fruity taste.
Whisky can be matured or finished in various types of casks and barrels – wood, wine, port, sherry, madeira, beer and rum. Rum casks, known as a Butt or Puncheon, is not a new idea, especially for Irish and US whiskey-makers.
2020 – The launch of the new Caribbean Reserve, carefully crafted by finishing their fine Speyside single malt in oak puncheons to take on the flavour of Caribbean rum.
What Glenlivet say:
Nose: Sweet notes of pear and red apple meet a fabulous tropical twist of ripe bananas in syrup. Palate: Rich caramel toffee notes, followed by mandarin orange, vanilla and melon, well balanced and smooth. Finish: Citrusy and delicate.
The first test for this pure amber liquid is the aroma of sweet, tropical fruit, and then a sip to detect a complex array of honey, orange, apricot, coconut, ginger and subtle spicy rum flavours. Expect a lingering, slow finish which is distinctly smoky – warming, bonfire wood smoke to my palate – with hints of cinnamon, nutmeg, baked banana and overall, it’s so rich and smooth.
“Whisky nosers, as they called themselves, eschewed what they saw as the pretentiousness of wine vocabulary. While oenophiles resorted to recondite adjectives, whisky nosers spoke the language of everyday life, detecting hints of stale seaweed, or even diesel fuel.”
― Alexander McCall Smith, The Sunday Philosophy Club
As well as sipped neat or on the rocks, this rich, rum soaked whisky is an ideal partner in various rum and whisky cocktails such as a Mai Tai, Rob Roy, Whisky Sour and an Old Fashioned.
The Mai Tai was created in 1944 by Victor Bergeron at his bar, Trader Vic’s, Emeryville, California, inspired by the ancient Tiki culture and paradise island life of French Polynesia. When his cocktail of dark Jamaican rum, fresh lime juice, a dash of orange Curação, French Orgeat (almond) syrup, was given to a friend from Tahiti, the response was “Mai tai, roa ae” which means “Out of this world, the best.”
Mai Tai – with Glenlivet Caribbean Reserve instead of Rum.
50 ml Glenlivet Caribbean Reserve, 25 ml Triple sec, (or Cointreau), 25 ml lime juice, 15 ml Orgeat or Orange syrup.
Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker with ice, shake briskly then strain into a Highball glass with ice cubes. Garnish with lime and mint.
The delicious sharp, tart taste of orange and lime blends perfectly with the spicy, citrus notes of the whisky and certainly hits the spot. Just like when sipping a Margarita, I am transported on a trip to Mexico – with this Scottish Mai Tai, catch the tantalising taste of South Sea island sunshine.
Rob Roy – created in 1894 by a bartender at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, New York City.
Switch your usual Scotch for Caribbean Reserve which blends so well with the spicy-herbal Vermouth and the aromatic flavour of the Bitters.
50ml Glenlivet Caribbean Reserve, 30ml Sweet Vermouth, (e.g. Dubonnet), 1 – 2 dashes of Angostura Bitters; Pour all ingredients into a shaker with ice, strain into a coupe and garnish with a twist of orange. (Maraschino cherries are traditional but the orange adds extra zest).
These are adapted from two classic Bourbon cocktails:
50ml Glenlivet Caribbean Reserve, 25ml lemon juice, 15 ml sugar syrup, 2 dashes Angostura bitters, ½ fresh egg white. Shake up with lots of ice, strain into a glass with ice; add zest of lemon and garnish with orange slice.
50ml Glenlivet Caribbean Reserve, a dash of Angostura bitters, 1 white sugar cube. Mix the sugar and bitters in a tumbler glass until the sugar dissolves. Stir in the whisky and add a large ice cube. Garnish with slice of orange and maraschino cherry.
The cocktail inspired its eponymous Old Fashioned glass and Cole Porter celebrated it in this bittersweet song.
Make it Another Old Fashioned, Please
Since I went on the wagon, I’m certain drink is a major crime
For when you lay off the liquor, you feel so much slicker
Well that is, most of the time.
But there are moments, sooner or later
When it’s tough, I got to say, love to say, Waiter
Make it another old-fashioned, please
Make it another, double, old-fashioned, please …
The Glenlivet has also invented their own tropical cocktail – Tartan Tiki
50ml The Glenlivet Caribbean Reserve, 25ml Pineapple Juice, 2 Dashes of Angostura Bitters Stir these together over ice in a tall glass and top with Peach Sparkling Water.
The recipe creates an ice cold, fruity Whisky “Rum Punch” – more suitable perhaps for hot summer days …. but this is the idea, to bring back the chill-out, Caribbean mood, spirit and soul during the winter and Festive season.
The good news is that the Tartan Tiki cocktail kit has just been launched so that you can easily shake this up at home: The hamper includes 70cl bottle of The Glenlivet Caribbean Reserve, two bottles of sparkling water, Angostura Bitters, pineapple juice and an orange for the garnish. (6 – 8 serves).
Tasting and testing, sipping and sampling The Glenlivet Caribbean Reserve in so many different ways, shows how flexible this jazzed up Single Malt proves to be. Sip a dram poured over a large cube of ice, shake up one of these revamped, classic cocktails above or the tropical Tartan Tiki.
Another seasonal suggestion, instead of the usual Rum, a Caribbean Reserve Hot Toddy would be the perfect, sweet, spicy, smoky winter warmer.
Where to buy:
The Glenlivet Caribbean Reserve is available for purchase at Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose, Amazon and Co-op. RRP £38.59.
Browse the website and shop on line.
The Caribbean Reserve Tartan Tiki Cocktail kit, RRP £49.50.