Speyside Scotch single malt whisky brand The Glenlivet earlier this month announced the introduction of the Glenlivet Founder’s Reserve in Singapore, a no age statement addition to its core range offerings.
First launched in other parts of the world two and a half years ago – better late than never for Singapore, we suppose – the Founder’s Reserve pays homage to founder George Smith’s original vision to craft the most definitive, smooth single malt Scotch whisky. While we’re no fans of using the word “smooth” to describe whiskies – what, does it taste like a baby’s bottom? – we understand where The Glenlivet is coming from with that, the idea that whisky can be uncomplicated, easy-drinking yet deliciously pleasurable at the same time.
To that end the Glenlivet Founder’s Reserve is a fruit-forward house style exuding creaminess and sweetness from the use of spirit from first fill American oak casks in the blend. You’ll taste the classic Speyside flavours – predominantly orchard fruits with apples and pears and hints of orange pith, rounded out by toffee sweetness and barley candy.
The Glenlivet’s international brand ambassador Ian Logan was recently in Singapore to oversee the launch of the Founder’s Reserve here; we grabbed him to ask a few quick questions.
You’re global brand ambassador for The Glenlivet. What does your job entail?
Ian Logan: My job is very diverse. It involves a mixture of education, mentoring, new product development, archiving the history of the brand and its vintage bottles, and product launches.
No two days are ever the same, and there is always something different to do and different markets to visit. I love market visits to international destinations as we always learn something new from each market we visit. People always bring stories and experiences that makes the experience that much more enriching.
What do you love about your job, and what’s the hardest thing about it?
In this line, things are always changing, and development is a key process. It’s exciting as there is always something to look forward to. I would say the easiest part of the job is being able to work with one of the most iconic Scottish things — whisky! — in the world. The Glenlivet is a brand that is strong enough to stand on its own two feet.
The hardest part of it would be being away from family.
Tell us more about the Glenlivet Founder’s Reserve and how it fits in with the existing Glenlivet range.
The Glenlivet Founder’s Reserve is the entry level to The Glenlivet family. Over the years, the brand has developed tremendously, and as a result, we wanted to make something suitable for any taste and preference.
We recognise that the whisky industry is ever-changing, and with Founder’s Reserve, we wanted to retrace George Smith’s footsteps and replicate history. By paying homage to George Smith’s signature fruity flavour, Founder’s Reserve becomes a very mixable, flexible and adaptable whisky.
I call it my fishing whisky, as it’s there for me when I want it, whenever I want it. It’s straightforward and not complicated; you can drink it straight, with water or in a cocktail. It’s definitely a social whisky, it’s made for groups who want to have a nice, relaxed night in mind.
[Photo credit: Joel Lim Photography]
Has Glenlivet seen any pushback from consumers regarding no age statement (NAS) whiskies? Is there anything the brand is doing to help combat any consumer reservations regarding this as opposed to whiskies with age statements?
Since Founder’s Reserve launched two and a half years ago, we have sold over 300,000 cases, which equates to over 3.6 million bottles per year. This makes up over 25% of our global sales and has since become one of the top ten single malts in the world. It was always our mission to ensure that the quality of the liquid in the bottle, the taste and the aroma remained consistent.
It’s important to educate consumers on the no age statement whiskies. Age can change from year to year, but it’s always about trying to keep the flavour profile the same in no age statements. That is why we invest in brand ambassadors in 40 key markets across the world. They help to really educate people to understand whisky.
We’ve seen the rise of interest in single cask, independent bottled whiskies in recent time; in fact The Scotch Malt Whisky Society officially launched its Singapore chapter just this week. Indeed The Glenlivet itself introduced the single cask Kinrossie in Singapore not too long ago. Is this going to be a thing moving forward for Glenlivet and the rest of the whisky industry?
It’s not my place to speak for the entire whisky industry, but we’ve been releasing the single cask for more than ten years, so there are about 120 to 130 different variations of them now. This is something we will keep on doing, as the single cask is given to markets that we know will appreciate the craft.
Singapore has had great response to The Glenlivet over the past few years, so the single cask expressions are the next step up to whisky drinkers and connoisseurs.
Founder’s Reserve is the whisky for those who are new to whisky, and it is equally as important for us to create whiskies for every type of consumer in the market. I can’t speak for other distillers, but that is what The Glenlivet has been doing for many years.
[Image credit: The Glenlivet]
What other trends do you foresee for the industry in 2018?
It’s a little bit hard to say what lies ahead for 2018, as whiskies often take a minimum of three years before it can legally be called Scotch. We’re seeing a lot of interest in countries like Taiwan, Australia and South Africa, who have started distilling fairly recently. All Scotch is whisky, but not all whisky is Scotch, and Scotch still remains the pinnacle of the whisky world, as far as most are concerned.
However, whisky is becoming much more diverse because it’s a drink that can suit pretty much anyone. People are tasting English whiskies, then Scotch whiskies, to see differences and what suits their personal preferences. In the long term, it benefits both sides of the business.
[Main photo credit: Joel Lim Photography]
The Glenlivet Founder’s Reserve is available at retail stores at around S$80-90 off-premise, and about $160-180 on-premise at notable bars and restaurants in Singapore.