Tasting: Glenlivet 1996-2013 16y by Signatory Vintage

Glenlivet 16 Signatory VintageDram data:
Distillery: Glenlivet
Bottler: Signatory Vintage Unchillfiltered Collection
Distilled: 13.05.1996
Bottled: 03.05.2013
Age: 16
Limitation: 774 bottles
Casks: First Fill Sherry Butt 79239
Alcohol: 46%
Unchillfiltered, natural colour
Whiskybase link

Tasting notes:
Colour:
light-ish gold
The nose is odd for a first-fill Sherry Butt. No in your face sherry notes. Hardly any sherry notes at all. This definitely wasn’t a “wet” cask when it was filled – maybe it was even rinsed or steam-cleaned? Hard to tell apart from a 1st fill ex-bourbon cask, to be honest – maybe this was even a Butt made from American oak? Okay, on to the notes now: Quite a bit of alcohol initially. Toffee and caramel pudding with a dash of vanilla (which could indicate European oak but it’s not that obvious…)

Dark milk chocolate, aniseed, light roast instant coffee, wood polish, rubber duck, all on a Demerara sugar background sweetness. Dark fruits? Nope. Any other kind of fruit? Well, maybe some oranges appearing after a long time. Definitely engaging enough to have me sniffing for 10 minutes straight, trying to make sense of this oddball dram. Time for a sip. The palate packs quite a punch. Alcohol meets a profound spiciness – fresh and kicking. Where’s that water jug? Instant Scotch mist in the glass. A dash of water tames the alcohol, the tannin-laden spiciness remains. European oak after all. Grapefruit, fresh and caramelised ginger, white pepper, green apples, apple kernels, fresh-cut grass, hay, background malt sweetness. The finish is on the short side. Dry, tannic, oak bitterness in the beginning, then some orange oil turning into brine – and then it’s gone.

Verdict:
I really liked the nose of this dram. Engaging, interesting, a bit of a puzzle. Palate and finish couldn’t uphold that level, though. Still, an interesting, spicy, tannic dram exhibiting the influence of Spanish oak (Quercus Alba) on a light, malty distillate sans any discernible Sherry influence – it’s all coming from the wood.

Score: 81/100
(Nose: 87 Palate: 81 Finish: 81)

Thanks to Manny for the sample!

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