Highlands region – 50% ABV – About $150. Good luck finding some! Only 3350 bottles were made available.
So, what in the blue $#%@ is Glenlivet Alpha?! Well, there were a lot of people wanting to know just that. Glenlivet, those sneaky little buggers, decided to make this whisky a big ‘ol secret: bottle the whisky in a black bottle with zero info, packaging came with zero info and there what, guess what? Zero info around the web as to what this whisky was all about.
So, what do we know? It’s bottles at 50% ABV which means there is no chill filtration needed. And, at only 3350 bottles and this being sort of a special one-off and coming in a black bottles, I am guessing no caramel coloring.
So, that’s really all we know about this whisky.
What about the name? Alpha? Hmmm… Alpha *is* the first letter in the Greek alpha (hey, there’s that word again) bet. (not to be confuse with Aleph or Aleph Bet). First? First fill? But first fill what? Bourbon, I’d guess from the lighter color.
So, here in the whisky blogging world there were a lot of cranky bloggers upset with Glenlivet that A) they charged so much for a NAS (no age statement) whisky and B) this expensive bottle of whisky came with ZERO information! I’ll come right out and tell you that I was one of those crotchety bloggers. Big price for a NAS whisky with zero information. I was upset but I was also intrigued.
What intrigued me more is I came to find out this week that Glenlivet were going to do a big reveal on the whisky. That I liked! I like, too, the fact that Glenlivet seemed to be getting out of their comfort zone of 12yo, 15yo, 18yo, 21yo, etc… and decided to do something a bit whacky! Good on ye, G’livet!
So, I tasted this whisky right before the big reveal. I will post the reveal below my notes but, let’s see what I get:
On the nose – Highly malty with a sweet and tangy quality to it. Perhaps just a whiff of smoke? Either there’s are good deal of refill barrels in the mix allowing a stronger spirit quality to come through or there is a higher proportion of young whiskies in here.
This bright and vibrant. Light lemons (or orange) and pear, more lemons than pear. There’s some black pepper in here, too. It’s fun and refreshing so far!
I do detect some older, more wood influenced whisky in here. Smaller casks? Nah, methinks older whisky is a component. Maybe some Cognac cask maturation in here? Hmmm, not sure. Must sip.
On the mouth – A very viscous mouth feel but a touch hot. The malt carries through as does that hint of smoke I got on the nose.
I think I change my mind about the Cognac cask influence. I change my mind about the smoke too. This is a dodgy duck!
Notes of star fruit, unripened mango and fresh rain. Yummy stuff! The heat is gone after the 2nd sip, btw. Highly sweet and malty! Is there some Bere barley in this make up?
I know the Nadurra was with Triumph barley. Maybe this is a them delving into different barley with less active casks? Whatever it is, it’s delicious.
Finish – Lasting, peppery, toffee-like, sweet and malty.
In sum – If the price was lower and if there were more than 3350 bottles, I’d say this is an everyday, easy drinker! This was a fun experiment to get people’s minds working and getting them to think about the whisky. I am glad that there will be a reveal as to the make up of the whisky because if there weren’t, if this were all no-info marketing, it’d be a big joke without a punchline. Kudos to Glenlivet, I say. Kudos!