The Glenlivet 18-Year-Old Scotch Whisky Review

Experience the Classic Taste of a Smooth Speyside Scotch

The Glenlivet 18 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky
The Glenlivet

Among the many famous Scotch whisky distillers in the world, The Glenlivet is one the largest, oldest, and most loved. This is the brand that ignited the revered Speyside scotches, which are known for their elegance.

While The Glenlivet has a portfolio of brilliant single malt whiskies, their 18-Year-Old expression is an old favorite. It is a flagship of the distillery and one of the most awarded whiskies they produce. It is not the youngest nor the oldest but is perfectly situated in the middle.

The Glenlivet 18 is relatively easy to find as it is one of the brand's classic expressions that is produced year after year. Though it is not inexpensive, it is a smooth sipping scotch that can be appreciated by both whisky enthusiasts and drinkers new to the scotch scene. 

Making The Glenlivet 18-Year-Old

The Glenlivet Distillery was founded in 1824 in Banffshire, Scotland by George Smith. It was the first distillery in the small Speyside region of northeastern Scotland where many fine scotches are produced today. This brand set the standard for all single malt whisky from the area, which is known for superior smoothness and the perfect amount of gentle smokiness.

Created by Master Distiller, Alan Winchester, The Glenlivet 18 is a single malt whisky that is a blend of the distillery's famous whiskies. Each whisky that goes into it has been aged for at least 18 years. The selection is made from American oak and European oak casks and includes both first- and second-fill barrels.

The first-fill American oak adds a tropical fruitiness to the whiskey. It contributes the signature Glenlivet profile that connoisseurs have come to know and love. The European oak imparts hints of spice to round out the whisky's finished profile.

This expression is bottled at 40 percent alcohol volume (80 proof) and typically sells for around $100.

Tasting Notes

On the nose, Glenlivet 18 offers a bouquet full of green apple notes, confectioners sugar, cinnamon graham crackers, and vanilla caramels. If you enjoy a fruity aroma in your dram, this is a great selection.

Glenlivet 18 has a medium body, coating the mouth slightly as you drink it. On the palate, wood notes commingle with cinnamon flavors, which give way to warm honeyed notes, apricot, vanilla custard, and burnt caramels.

This dram offers a medium-length finish, perfect for drinking as an aperitif before a meal or paired with fruit and cheese for dessert. Hazelnut and almond notes abound, before giving way to dried apricot, summer peach, and tea spice notes. A very pleasant finish indeed.

Enjoy the Glenlivet 18

A Scotch whisky of this caliber is best enjoyed neat. It needs no enhancements and makes a very nice digestif after a satisfying meal. The distillery suggests that it's an excellent pairing for filet mignon and foie gras.

Though most drinkers would not, if you prefer it slightly chilled, adorn your glass with an iceball. This will offer a slow melt that will not alter the whisky too much.

Many people would not think to mix a single malt like this into a cocktail due to its high price tag. If you are inclined to do so, however, it will make a Rob Roy or rusty nail like no other you've tasted. They're both great choices that would treat this whisky with the respect it deserves. And yet, you may also want to reserve those mixes for one of The Glenlivet's younger expressions.

More The Glenlivet Expressions

The Glenlivet's core whiskies include a variety of options that are sure to please any scotch lover. The reliable expressions include 12-, 15-, 18-, and 21-year-old whiskies. They range from a reasonable $50 to nearly $200, so there's a worthy sipper for anyone's budget, as well as special occasions. The Founder's Reserve is another excellent choice that is even more affordable.

This brand also offers some amazing specialty bottlings. The Nàdurra line will give you a taste of various barrel finishes, including whisky from Oloroso sherry casks or first-fill casks. If you enjoy more smoke in your scotch, the Nàdurra Peated Whisky Cask is a modern, rather gentle take on that experience.

As with most scotch distilleries, it's also a delight to explore the master collections from The Glenlivet. These tend to be long-term projects started decades ago and aged with great patience until the profile reaches its peak. For instance, the Winchester Collection is a 1966 vintage that was only released five decades after it was first barreled.

These whiskies are rare and only 100 or so bottles are released to the market. This does command a very high price. For the true scotch connoisseur, they are worth seeking out and adding to your collection.

Additional reporting by Lance Mayhew