Reviews: The Glenlivet Alpha and Josie (Single Cask Edition)

For my next review, I’ll be taking a look at a pair of pretty cool offerings from The Glenlivet that I was lucky enough to try, Alpha and Josie. Both are tough to track down but not impossible to find. I enjoyed both of these whiskies at The Flatiron Room in New York City, which is well worth a visit if you’re in town!

The Glenlivet Alpha got some decent press a while ago as one of the first single malts to be released with no tastings notes or information describing the whisky. It’s presented in a black bottle and is listed at 50% alcohol by volume. Eventually, more details about the whisky were released. Part of this whisky was aged in first fill bourbon barrels and the rest was aged in new American oak seasoned with whisky instead of wine. By that, I assume they mean single malt. I’d be curious to know exactly what went into those barrels first.

There’s no age statement on this, though from some inside sources, I’m quite certain that this whisky is 14 years of age. It’s non-chill filtered and of natural color.

The Glenlivet Alpha and Josie

The Glenlivet Alpha - 50% ABV
Category Notes
Appearance Golden. Passes NCF test with water.
Nose Spice and nuts right off the bat. Almond, vanilla, crème brulee. With water and with time, increasing fruitiness, especially tropical fruits after several minutes (pineapple and a lot of coconut).
Taste Great mouthfeel, thick and creamy, cinnamon, oatmeal cookies, dark chocolate, mango, some oak.
Finish Long and lingering, fruit, more spice and wood, typical Glenlivet vanilla.
Overall Thoughts Removing hype and price from the equation, this is actually a damn fine offering from The Glenlivet. The limited availability and hype made this whisky more expensive than it should be given its age. If they replaced the Nadurra with this and kept the price point similar, this would be a regular in my rotation.
Total Score 89/100

 

The Glenlivet Josie is a very special bottling that is not available for sale in the United States. Aside from some European websites, they only place I know for sure that you could get this was at the distillery itself. Part of the Glenlivet’s Single Cask bottlings, this is the 10th release of the series and The Glenlivet has been working their way through the alphabet as part of the naming process (The Glenlivet Atlantic followed by Blairfindy, Cairn Daimh, etc.) This release is named for Josie’s Well, the water source for The Glenlivet.

This whisky spent 17 years in first fill sherry butt number 4014 and only 464 bottles were made. It’s bottled at cask strength and is NC2.

The Glenlivet Josie - 57.5% ABV
Category Notes
Appearance Golden Amber
Nose Gingerbread, toffee, sherry for sure, raisins, a bit winey (in a good way) after a few minutes.
Taste Oily, dark chocolate, figs, dried fruits, vanilla in the back, orange, cherry, pencil shavings.
Finish Long, spicy, more toffee, nutmeg, a hint of cappuccino, very warming.
Overall Thoughts Cask strength is always great, but there’s something magical about cask strength sherried whiskies in particular. From Macallan Cask Strength to A’bunadh and 105, the combination just seems to work and The Glenlivet Josie is certainly no exception. Releases like this prove to me that The Glenlivet has the ability to pump out some quality spirit. Of course, when you’re one of two major world players in the single malt market, there’s little reason to change what’s working for you. Here’s to hoping the Glenlivet works to bring more NC2 offerings to the world market!
Total Score 93/100