Review of the Black Tulip 2011 and The Glenlivet 12-Year-Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky
By Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon
Washington Jewish Week February 27, 2015
A recent survey by the Wine Market Council offers an interesting snapshot of U.S. wine consumption.
It turns out that 40 percent of American adults enjoy drinking wine, with a third of those drinking a glass or two several times a week. The breakdown showed that 19 percent of those surveyed only drink wine, 19 percent drink wine and liquor but no beer, 20 percent drink wine and beer but no liquor, and the remaining 42 percent drink all three.
A reasonable percentage of frequent wine drinkers said that they considered wine reviews to be important. Not surprisingly, those who purchase expensive bottles depend more upon reviews. So at the risk of appearing self-serving, turning to wine reviews for a little extra guidance makes a fair amount of sense. Spending $14 to try a new wine is one thing, spending $100 is quite another. We hate to see anyone waste money on disappointing wine.
If considering an expensive bottle anytime soon, since we are on the subject, we are happy to recommend from Israel the kosher Black Tulip 2011 ($80): a full-bodied, concentrated Bordeaux-style blend that expresses a host of aromas and flavors including black currant, cassis, dark cherry and tart blackberry accented with vanilla, Mediterranean spices and bits of dark chocolate.
Spirits-wise, we thought we’d return to some familiar turf: The Glenlivet! The “The” in the name is trademarked as many Scotch distilleries had for years appended “Glenlivet” to their names in an attempt to boost sales.
Apparently The Glenlivet has introduced a new non-age statement whisky to the core range; it will roll out globally in March. This is not startling in and of itself. Although, just a few years ago brand-owners Chivas Brothers, the Scotch whisky wing of Pernod Ricard, did launch a global marketing campaign called “The Age Matters” on the importance of Scotch whisky age statements.
What is startling was the accompanying news that, according to Drinks International: “Depending on the market, Founder’s Reserve – which is named in tribute to the brand’s founder George Smith – will either sell alongside the range’s key expression, replace it or – in age-statement sensitive markets – may not launch at all.”
But hang on. What did they mean, replace it? The “key expression” is The Glenlivet 12-year-old. That is, the second biggest selling single malt in the world.
Having checked with industry friends around the globe, it seems the Founders Reserve will indeed replace the 12-year-old expression in certain countries—but they aren’t disclosing that info in advance of the switch. So far, the switch has been announced for both Germany and the United Kingdom.
Really, the U.K? So Scottish Scotch drinkers, as well as other British consumers, will soon lose access to the classic The Glenlivet 12-year-old. Wow. It seems that well and truly “The Age Matters” no more.
So far the U.S. corporate presence has yet to respond to our email for clarification on what will happen here. Considering the market, it seems unlikely that the 12 year old will be entirely eliminated from these shores, but we suppose time will tell.
As we await further word, we ease the tension with a dram of the classic:
The Glenlivet 12-Year-Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky (40 percent abv; $38): Justifiably one of the two best-selling single malts for decades, this offers one of the original, classic profiles of single malt Scotch whisky and remains elegant, excellent, and lovely—Scotch snobs be damned. With full aromas and flavors of sweet vanilla, banana, pineapple, pear, cooked apple, orange blossom, a touch of anise, oatmeal cookie, baking spices, the slightly drying heat found mid-palate belies, somewhat, the sweet nose. The whisky wraps up with a long and warming finish of vanilla, cream, almonds and a bit of green apple and white pepper. Sophisticated, graceful and tasty—and a bargain too. L’Chaim!