For almost 200 years, The Glenlivet has defined the taste of Speyside.
Now, from the single malt that started it all, comes a rare collection of single cask editions.
Each edition possesses a distinctive character and unique history, but all share the exceptional quality and signature smoothness of The Glenlivet.
A century or so ago, the train was the most luxurious way to travel. Men donned their best suits and hats for the ride; the journey itself was an adventure. The Pullman Company was the paragon of luxury during this golden age of rail travel. Passengers enjoyed freshly prepared gourmet meals in lavish settings, featuring plush leather seating, gleaming chandeliers and table lamps with sumptuous silk shades, plus all the most coveted technological advances of the era, from electric lighting to air conditioning. The Pullman trains were more than a means of conveyance; they were the very peak of elegance in travel that fully engaged the senses.
And what might a passenger have sipped while lounging in a well-appointed dining car as the world whizzed by outside the window? Why, a dram of single malt whisky, of course. The Glenlivet’s archives are a treasure trove of history, much of it in liquid form. But also included are time-yellowed documents and records of The Glenlivet’s connection to the Pullman Company and the glory days of luxury train travel. This is where our journey really begins.
As soon as Prohibition ended in 1933, Captain Bill Smith Grant, who was The Glenlivet founder George Smith’s last descendant to act as master distiller, began securing distribution deals in the United States. One of those deals was with the Pullman Company, the only Scotch whisky available in its dining cars, offered in two-ounce miniatures. In this pre–mass media era, railroads were the original information highway, and this exposure was priceless. It raised The Glenlivet’s profile across the country, eventually leading to its status as the number-one single malt in America.
The Glenlivet is paying homage to this history and to the sophisticated style of classic Pullman trains with a limited-edition series of single cask whiskies. Each numbered bottle comes in an eye-catching sleek wooden box. With a suggested price of $350, these rare and highly collectible whiskies are the ideal gift for the malt connoisseur in your life––especially if that connoisseur happens to be you.
Single cask is a unique style of whisky that can offer a world of complexity in flavor to single malt lovers. Many of your favorite single malts are actually blends of different casks carefully selected by the master distiller, much like a chef uses seasonings or a painter blends the colors on his palette. A single cask whisky, on the other hand, is bottled without blending. It expresses the singular vision of the master distiller, offering a unique sensory experience that can’t be repeated.
This limited-edition collection of single cask whiskies includes three exclusive expressions, each inspired by this golden age of luxury train travel. Only a few hundred bottles of each are being released. All are bottled at cask strength, omitting chill-filtering, so as not to dilute the unique characteristics of each cask. And like the famous trains of their namesake, these single casks have also made a lengthy journey. The Pullman Club Car edition, aged in ex-sherry butts filled in 1998, shows ripe fruit and creamy milk chocolate notes, with hints of toasted almond and baking spice. Only 498 bottles are available.
The Pullman 20th Century Limited is named for what was known as the most famous train in the world. Passengers literally got the red-carpet treatment: The expression itself was coined as a reference to the crimson carpet rolled out to welcome people onto this storied Pullman train. The whisky has been aged in European oak since 2002, imparting soft honeyed and floral aromas that give way to sweet citrus, ginger and spice. Only 524 bottles are available.
The final expression is the Pullman Water Level Route, which pays homage to a special route operating between Chicago and Grand Central Terminal in New York City. It featured the original high-speed train, traveling at an impressive (for the era) 60 miles per hour and completing the trip in a record 16 hours. A passenger leaving New York could depart at 6 p.m., enjoy his nightcap of fine whisky before retiring to his private compartment, and expect to arrive in the Windy City by 9 o’clock the next morning. This extremely rare edition––just 270 bottles have been released––was matured in American oak hogshead casks, filled in 2002. It shows a lush, peachy character with plenty of vanilla and honeycomb on the palate. Distinct, yet distinctly The Glenlivet.
Getting from point A to point B might no longer be the refined, lavish experience it once was. It’s always been about the journey, but a dram of rare single malt might just transport you to a different time, if only for a moment. With these single cask editions, it will be a bon voyage indeed.