Summer gold in colour.
Rich malty nose, autumn fruits with a dollop of vanilla ice cream on them, and a back note of woody Oak. Nicely rounded nose which gives way to green granny smith apple notes.
On the palate it’s smooth and easy to drink, gently oily and mouth warming with some spices after a while. It doesn’t instantly give the green apples up, it’s more buttery (with a biscuit base!), but the apples then come bursting through, although more mum’s stewed apples in the autumn with cinnamon and custard.
The finish is short to medium in length, but moreish and relaxing, asking you back for more.
A drop of water brings the apples notes further forward, and reduces the spices a touch whilst bringing forward some more sweetness.
Master Of Malt £27.13
Autumn gold in colour.
The nose is less malty than the 12yo, still vanilla and oak there, but it feels like a later summer dram, it’s not got the fresh grass and apples in quite such abundance, instead stewed summer fruits with a dollop of vanilla yoghurt on the nose, also slight caramel toffee notes hanging around in the background, and finally red apples coming at the end… red toffee apples on a stick at a late summer fête.
On the palate, very smooth, not quite the spices from the 12yo, more a relaxing feet up type of effect, more oak than the nose maybe led you to think. Warming think fruit compote flavours running with brown sugar.
The finish is easy and fast, slightly menthol going onto longer malty stewed fruits, very enjoyable.
A drop of water brings out a few more of the apples notes easily found in the 12yo, and again making the palate that little bit sweeter, but be careful not to put too much water in, only a tiny drop is needed or it’s drowned.
Master Of Malt £37.24
Late autumn gold in colour.
A fabulous nose; it’s juxtaposed fresh fruits with old wintery fruits at the same time, married together very happily. Earthy mossy dunnage cask oak notes with apples around it in harvest festival stylee.
On the palate this is just a touch more spicy, partly due to the higher ABV which is very welcome, it helps round this whisky off nicely. It’s a fuller and more oily feeling whisky, with the dunnage / old oak notes still coming through on to the palate nicely. The apples have finally been stewed into a winter pie with chunky pastry and brown crunchy sugar on top.
The finish is warming and fairly long, much longer than the 12 and 15, spicy, fruity, fairly unctuous and gently sweet.
A drop of water is not really needed, it takes away the extra beef from the ABV, and lowers what you find on the nose. Palate wise it sweetens it up a touch and brings out a touch more new oak (rather than the old oak you could already taste).
Master Of Malt £50.52
Light summer gold in colour (assumedly no colouring).
A fairly strong nose (due to higher ABV), first and second fill American oak notes it would seem coming though, vanilla and honey notes. Crunchy Breyburn apples and shovels of malt.
On the palate it’s got upfront sweetness followed by spices and mid palate heat from the ABV hike. The malt comes through nicely followed by the Glenlivet trademark (it seems) apples, rhubarb and apple sweeties, or a pie with cream and ice cream. Slightly fizzy, like Refreshers (UK sherbety sweets).
Fairly long fresh and appley finish, but not as long as the 18yo maybe, some gentle oak notes coming through right at the end.
Easy to drink without any water, but with a drop added it opens up the nose somewhat, allowing more sweet flavours to come through on the nose, more summery fruit, tropical / citrus fruits and lighter oaky notes. Those notes are followed on the palate by sweeter, more malty and lightly fruity.
Thoughts? – It’s a great whisky, with lots of good quality to it… Is it worth the extra £50 over the 18yo? That’s for you to decide I guess (depending on how much spare cash you have)… on the tasting quite a few people thought it was worth it.
(These are initial notes, I’ll revisit them tomorrow)
Master Of Malt £97.13 (Sold Out, still available in some other shops)