Whisky Galore

Writers of fiction are generally advised to ‘write what they know’ and journalists to write what they have learned or observed.  Where does that leave the reviewer of a whisky-tasting event whose previous tasting of whisky can be counted on the fingers of one hand?

Held at The Whisky Shop in Victoria Street, Edinburgh, this particular event saw the launch of The Glenlivet Founder’s Reserve, created, as the name suggests, to honour Glenlivet Founder, George Smith.  Hosted by brand ambassador, James Collins, the evening began with a sample of The Glenlivet 15 year old, and worked its way through the range culminating in The Founder’s Reserve.  This is a whisky with no age statement, meaning that it is created by selecting whisky from a variety of traditional aged oak casks and American first-fill oak casks.

I’m not going to attempt to review any of The Glenlivet Whisky, though it all appeared to be well, and knowledgeably, received by the fifteen or so tasters who did know their stuff.  It’s always a pleasure to see like-minded people discussing their passions and this was no exception. It was a perfectly judged evening of serious tasting and informal discussion – which certainly got more animated as the event went on and the whisky went down.

My palate is a long way off being able to decipher the toffee apple overtones of The Founder’s Reserve or the spices of the 18 year old, but I did learn the correct way to ‘nose’ the liquid, and saw the personal preferences involved in deciding when to add just a drop of water.


I must admit I arrived with a stereotypical image of a whisky-drinker in mind: someone in their older years, probably a man… and certainly about half of the participants fitted this category. However, the age-range went from the woman younger than The Glenlivet 25 year old, through the  decades, to participants, I’m guessing, in their seventies. There were established members of the  group and there were others there for the first time – although everyone clearly knew their whisky!

Hugh and Chris, staff at The Whisky Shop, are more than happy to offer all-comers information and advice.  Justine, from Leith, (pictured, speaking to The Glenlivet representative, James) is keen to encourage more women into the world of whisky. She is just starting up a series of women-only (for now) whisky-and-cheese-tasting sessions and has already had a lot of interest.

I’ve never seen myself as a whisky-drinker.  But after such a friendly welcome into a convivial atmosphere where nobody minded the presence of a true whisky-virgin, I could well go back for more…

For more information, email:

The Whisky Shop, Edinburgh – victoriastreet@whiskyshop.com

Justine – kaskwhisky@gmail.com

The Glenlivet Founder’s Reserve is available from March 2015.


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