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Grind Time: Going gaga for Glenlivet
BY JASON GENEGABUS / firstname.lastname@example.org
Earlier this month, a limited number of Hawaii residents were given the opportunity to attend Scotch tastings hosted by Pernod Ricard’s Master of Scotch, Rick Edwards.
Following a series of industry events and a fundraiser tasting for the Hawaii Bar Owners Association, Edwards hosted a tasting at Ruth’s Chris Steak House on Jan. 17 that was open to the public.
Seven different types of single malt Scotch — five varieties of The Glenlivet and two from Aberlour — were paired with small bites from the Ruth’s Chris kitchen.
Before any food was served, Edwards took a few minutes to talk about The Glenlivet and its history, which dates back to 1824 and distillery founder George Smith. His operation was the first in Scotland to be legally licensed, Edwards said; for nearly 40 years, others had co-opted the Glenlivet name for use with other Scotch produced in the region.
According to Edwards, by 1863 more than two dozen distilleries used the Glenlivet name to market their products. Even Macallan, he said, used to use the Glenlivet name. It was Smith’s son, John Gordon, who secured the right for their whisky to be called The Original Glenlivet.
Another interesting fact about Glenlivet whisky is that every variety the distillery bottles is a little different. Along with aging the whisky for different periods of time, different types of wood barrels are used to produce each expression.
“The Glenlivet is not a linear expression,” said Edwards. “Our 18-year-old is not the 12-year-old that’s been aged six more years.”
While 92 percent of all Scotch consumed in the world is of the blended variety (single malt whisky mixed with grain whisky, often using dozens of different whisky vintages to capture a consistent flavor profile), each of the Glenlivet and Aberlour expressions tasted that day were single malts.
Here’s what was poured:
» The Glenlivet 12 (aged in Amercian oak barrels)
» The Glenlivet 15 (aged in virgin French oak barrels)
» Glenlivet Nadurra (aged 16 years in first-fill bourbon barrels)
» The Glenlivet 18 (aged in Spanish oak barrels)
» Glenlivet Archive (aged 21 years in Spanish oak Oloroso sherry butts)
» Aberlour 12 (aged in American oak and Spanish oak barrels)
» Aberlour A’bundah (aged in Spanish oak Oloroso sherry butts)
With bottles priced around $30 at retail, The Glenlivet 12 is an average whisky most people are familiar with due to its lower price point. What made this event special was the presence of the higher-end expressions; Glenlivet Nadurra and The Glenlivet 18 will set you back between $60 and $80, while the Glenlivet Archive falls in the $130-$150 price range. It was interesting to taste each of the different types of Scotch and notice the differences in taste based on the type of wood the liquor was stored in.
Another interesting detail about the Glenlivet Archive? According to Edwards, while all the other whisky is stored and aged in “modern warehouse facilities” that can house up to 90,000 casks on concrete floors, the Glenlivet Archive is the only product stored in the original distillery’s cellars.
“Go to Warehouse No. 1, where a padlock opens the door,” he said. “It creaks open, and you step into nice, cool, damp air. When you breathe in, it just smells like evaporating whisky.”
Along with the Scotch, guests enjoyed some of the signature flavors offered by the kitchen at Ruth’s Chris.
First Course: Flaming Oysters Rockefeller
Second Course: Seared Scallop
Third Course: Salmon Carpaccio
Fourth Course: BBQ Shrimp
Fifth Course: Lamb Chops
Sixth Course: Ruth’s Chris Petite Filet
“Grind Time” is always looking for the latest places to get your grub on. Email Jason Genegabus with restaurant, bar or any other food/drink-related item at email@example.com.