The iconic Glenlivet 12-year-old will return to markets around the world within three years thanks to the Founder’s Reserve expression taking pressure off aged stocks.
Glenlivet’s 12-year-old expression was the staple of the Scotch whisky giant and the key gunner in the chase to overall Glenfiddich as the world’s top selling single malt Scotch. However shortages of aged stock at the Speyside distillery forced the withdrawal of the 12-year-old in many key markets, including Australia.
Replaced by the non-age-statement Founder’s Reserve, the new expression has gained enough of a foothold globally that drinkers can expect the reintroduction of its aged predecessor.
“We hit this ceiling a few years ago where we had no option at all – we had to review the portfolio,” said Laurent Lacassange, CEO of Glenlivet’s parent company Chivas Brothers, according to Scotch Whisky.
“As a way [of review] we came up with this very successful brand of Founder’s Reserve which is more of an entry point whisky.”
Whilst the 12-year-old was retained in key markets, regions like Australia made the jump to the Founder’s.
“The success of Founder’s – we are looking at around 300,000 cases [worldwide annually], which is big – has given us the key to continue our growth and keep the momentum on the brand,” said Lacassange.
“It’s also taking a little bit of pressure off the aged range, especially the 12-year-old.”
The initial announcement that the 12-year-old was being discontinued ushered in an element of ill-advised panic buying in certain pockets, but was mostly greeted with nostalgia as it had provided an entry point into single malts for many Australian aficionados.
With the Founder’s to remain as an entry-level for the brand, it is expected that the eventual re-introduction of the 12-year-old will see it sit at a price point above its replacement.
In recent years Glenlivet has caught Glenfiddich as the top selling Scottish single malt despite the pulling of the 12-year-old and the two Scotch goliaths now sit side-by-side.