This malt is matured in French Limousine Oak which is used for making wines and cognacs. The Glenlivet claims to be one of the first distilleries to use French Oak in its maturation process, and my knowledge of whisky history is not nearly enough for me to comment on that.
On the eye, the malt does seem to have a dark, caramel hue but nothing on the packaging indicates any added colouring. Its trails run thin and fast down the glass, which is unusual for a 15 year old bottling, but there is some stickiness as well. To the nose, it is deep and dark raisin- almost leathery. There are hints of salt, lemon, and oak apple. The smell is rich, deep and intense- hinting towards a fine palate.
To my tongue, the malt gave notes of fruit and nut in the form of citrus, dates and ripe melon. There's a fair bit of syrupy sugar as well, and I guess that comes from the Limousine Oak. The finish is long and satisfying, and some spice stays in the mouth for a long time after the malt washes down the throat.
Along with the Nadurra, my experience of the 15 YO French Oak certainly allows me to rate The Glenlivet higher on a personal level. There's some elegance in the malt that makes me want to savour it on special occasions. And as I write this on the eve of Argentina vs. Germany, it seems like the perfect malt to sip as Messi leads the Albiceleste to victory.
Eye- deep, dark caramel
Nose- raisin, salt, oak apple
Palate- dates, sugar, citrus, oak
Finish- long, spicy, thick