Glenlivet 15 Year Old French Oak Reserve

Glenlivet’s bargainous 15 Year Old reviewed.

For Day 3 and the penultimate day of the Speyside Festival we have chosen the Glenlivet 15 Year French Oak Reserve.

Glenlivet is another classic Speyside distillery and Glenlivet 15 Year Old French Oak Reserve is one of their core range of single malts.

The distillery was founded in 1824 and (according to the packaging) known as ‘the single malt that started it all’ since it was the first licensed distillery in the area.

The French Oak Reserve is a step up from the standard 12 year old (itself being replaced by the non-age statement Founders Reserve) and is finished in a Limousin Oak Cask (typically used for cognacs and wines), giving it a bit more depth than the standard expression. It is bottled at 40% ABV.


Pale gold.


Buttered fruitcake, with creaminess and rich fruit flavours in equal measure.

Some sweet citrus flavours like ripe oranges also apparent.


Much drier than you’d expect; there’s caramel sweetness and cooked apples mixed with leather and spice.

Medium mouth feel with leads into a long dry finish with pepper notes.

Opens up well with a little water which brings out more fruit sweetness whilst retaining the balance. Really nice.


I’ve been a huge fan of the Glenlivet 15 French Oak Reserve since first tasting it years ago. Having recently tried the Glenlivet 18, I still prefer it over the old expression.

It’s priced slightly higher than most entry-level single malts, however the upgrade is well worthy of the extra cost.

The 15 year old offers deeper complexity and a more interesting flavour profile than cheaper expressions and everyone should try this whisky once.

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