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Glayva (Scotch Whisky Liqueur)

Review: Glayva (Scotch Whisky Liqueur) 84.5/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted January 19,  2012

Glayva (a Scotch Whisky Liqueur) was created by Edinburgh whisky merchant Ronald Morrison in 1947, and (according to the Glayva website) the recipe has remained unchanged since the day it was first crafted. It is a blend of aged Scotch malt whiskies and a carefully selected range of spices which include Mediterranean tangerines, cinnamon, almonds and honey.

The folks at Authentic Wine and Spirits,  recently provided with two 350 ml sample bottles of Glayva to share with my Rum Chums during our tasting events tasting this past fall.

In the Bottle 4/5

The Glayva arrives in a standard 350 ml bottle as shown to the left.  The bottle has what looks at first glance like a plastic diffuser under the cap which I was worried about as my experience with plastic diffusers is that they clog easily especially with sweet liqueurs. However I was pleased that this ‘diffuser’ did not have one of those annoying plastic balls inside of it and it actually serves a different function as a pour spout. The plastic spout keeps the liquid away from the closure threads preventing them from gumming up with sticky liquid as can happen so easily when a little spillage happens.

In the Glass 8.5

I gave my glass a quick tilt and turn and watched as the golden amber liquid imparted thick syrupy legs down the sides of my glass. These legs are a strong indication of sweetness and give me the impression that this liqueur will not be shy about imparting the taste of honey and sugar into its flavour profile.

The aroma from the glass is honeyed. With the candied sweetness, I also sense a firm herbal aroma and citrus accents. I sense a little cinnamon in the breezes as well as a bit of mandarin orange. There is also a firm alcohol updraft which surprised me until I looked at the bottle and realized that this liqueur has been bottled at 35 % alcohol by volume which is higher than most liqueurs I am used to. The overall effect of the Glayva on the nose as quite interesting, and I (and my friends) approached our first taste with anticipation.

In the Mouth 51/60

Glayva has a rather thickish or perhaps I should say syrupy mouth feel with a firm sweet flavour. It is quite delicious, although the sweetness can become cloying. The flavour of scotch whisky provides the foundation for the spirit. Light oak spices and butterscotch are noticed quite easily in the flavour profile. The herbal quality the liqueur possesses is a little more difficult to pin down. At first it reminded me a little of heather and balsam. At my tasting event with the Rum Chums my friends also tossed out descriptors like vanilla, sage, thyme, and cinnamon. I found myself nodding my head in agreement with them, and we all agreed that Glayva possesses an earthy somewhat pungent ‘herbal’ quality on both the nose and the palate which plays very nicely with the sweet honey and citrus.

In the Throat 12.5/15

The exit is sweet just like the delivery although perhaps the scotch flavours and the oak have a little more expression in the finish than they had upon the palate. The honeyed sweetness allows the flavours to linger upon the palate and a nice sensation of cinnamon seems leave a resting warmth on the palate and in the throat.

The Afterburn 8.5/10

Because of the firm sweetness, I found I preferred to use this liqueur more for mixing than for sipping. I found it worked great as a replacement for Drambuie in a Rusty Nail, and a recipe I found on the Gayva website mixing Glayva with Lemonade was absolutely delicious.

You may read some of my other Liqueur Reviews (click the link) if you wish to have some comparative reviews.
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Suggested Recipe

For a nice refreshing drink in the summertime, try mixing Glayva with Lemonade.

Glayva and Lemonade

1  oz Glayva
Juice from 1/2 Lemon
Teaspoon of sugar
Ice
Complete with water

Stir well and enjoy

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My Scores are out of 100 and you may (loosely) interpret them as follows:

0-25 A spirit with a rating this low would actually kill you.
26-49 Depending upon your fortitude you might actually survive this.
50 -59 You are safe to drink this…but you shouldn’t.
60-69 Substandard swill which you may offer to people you do not want to see again.
70-74 Now we have a fair mixing spirit. Accept this but make sure it is mixed into a cocktail.
75-79 You may begin to serve this to friends, again probably still cocktail territory.
80-84 We begin to enjoy this spirit neat or on the rocks. (I will still primarily mix cocktails.)
85-89 Excellent for sipping or for mixing!
90-94 Definitely a primary sipping spirit, in fact you may want to hoard this for yourself.
95-97.5 The Cream of the Crop
98+ I haven’t met this bottle yet…but I want to.

Very loosely we may put my scores into terms that you may be familiar with on a Gold, Silver, and Bronze medal scale as follows:

70 – 79.5 Bronze Medal (Recommended only as a mixer)
80 – 89.5 Silver Medal (Recommended for sipping and or a high quality mixer)
90 – 95 Gold Medal (Highly recommended for sipping and for sublime cocktails.)
95.5+ Platinum Award (Highest Recommendation)

4 Responses to “Glayva (Scotch Whisky Liqueur)”

  1. Margery said

    I love Glayva, and your recipe for a summer drink using it, but have not been able to find Glayva in any liquor stores here in Maryland, or anyplace that ships to Maryland. I’ve been nursing my last dregs. One place told me that it is no longer distributed to this country. Is this true? Any resources you can suggest so that I can replenish my supply would be greatly appreciated.

  2. Neil Cake said

    Hey, how’s it going? Good.

    I’m finding your blog more and more useful, so thanks for the wealth of information. I just thought you might like to know that I used your Glayva review in experiments for my own blog post on Glayva, and have recommended my (admittedly few) readers check out your blog.

    Thanks again.

 
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