SINGLE, BUT STRONG
A single malt drawn entirely from the same cask, The Glenlivet Single Cask Edition is as rare as the doomed Sumatran rhinoceros
A FEW BLUE moons ago, I caught up with Ian Logan, The Glenlivet’s brand ambassador at La Cave, Medan Damansara̶not to be confused with another establishment bearing an identical name in Bangsar. It took me some time to ascertain that I hadn’t gone to the wrong place. Sequestered on the third floor of a row of shop offices whose ground floors were littered with posh wine bars, the staircase that led up to it was unassuming. Only a towering, thick wooden door hinted at something more.
The bubbly Logan has a larger-than-life personality to match his stature. In a dimly lit room, seated on a plush leather sofa were us, engaging in a tête-à-tête about the brand. He broached the subject of the distiller’s effort to adorn its whisky a more personalised touch. Leaning back on the sofa, relaxed and occasionally motioning his arms up and down his sides, he spoke about how the brand was going down the localisation route, expounding how it was connecting with its audiences due to shared values.
Further building on that notion, the distiller has made available only for
Malaysia The Glenlivet Single Cask Edition. Aesthetically, it bears no resemblance to
The Glenlivet’s more affordable core range, instead it shares plenty of similarities with other special releases. On the hand, there is a satisfying heft to it that offers reassurance and alludes to excellence.
A birth certificate-like label details which cask The Glenlivet Single Cask Edition was aged in, the type of oak casks used, the duration, the alcohol content, the date it was bottled, a signature of the master distiller and, most importantly, the birth order for bragging rights. It’s like a vehicle registration number. Nonetheless with only 174 bottles produced, exclusivity is assured. Getting your hands on your preferred number may prove trickier than bidding for a vehicle registration number, however, as The Glenlivet Single
Cask Edition is sold on a first-come-first-serve basis. Even a Glenlivet Guardian is restricted to only a single bottle.
The Glenlivet Single Cask Edition was aged in cask number 906283, which is American oak. It had been aged for a period of 15 years, before the whisky was bottled through non-chill filtration. Typically, whisky is chill filtered prior to bottling as it removes compounds and impurities such as esters, proteins and acids produced during fermentation and maturation. The resulting clarity is desirable. However, some perceive the filtration diminishes the overall richness
“THE GLENLIVET SINGLE CASK EDITION WAS AGED IN CASK NUMBER 906283, WHICH IS AMERICAN OAK. IT HAD BEEN
AGED FOR A PERIOD OF 15 YEARS, BEFORE THE WHISKY WAS
BOTTLED THROUGH NON-CHILL FILTRATION“
and flavour. Although to the naked eyes, a chill-filtered whisky and a non-chill-filtered whisky appear indistinguishable, upon adding water or ice, a non-chill-filtered whisky will gain a degree of murkiness.
Furthermore, and unlike other whiskies, The Glenlivet Single Cask Edition wasn’t watered down to a more customary 40 percent alcohol by volume (ABV). It boasts a potent 59.7 percent ABV, which is cask strength. With it, the initial whiff slaps you in the face unapologetically like an ex-partner you once caught cheated on. It hits hard and if you nose it long enough, you may even be intoxicated by alcohol vapours. At this stage, there is not much that can be described except it smells of intense alcohol. But add a few drops of water or drop in a cube of ice, swirl it, let the ice thaw and the bouquet will gradually unravel itself, revealing sweetness of pears and honeydews.
On the palate, it is vigorous yet smooth. A dominant vanilla note jolts the senses, but underneath it, lies a faint layer of ginger.
The finish is lengthy, continuing to linger long after it has trickled down the larynx. It is one you would have read its tasting notes time and again but never will you unscrew the cap because you never did have the opportunity to splash out on ‒ it has already been sold out by the time you read this ‒ or you would rather save it for a better celebratory reason. Sometimes you wish you can have your cake and eat it too. But it is never too late to save the rhino. AM
influenced decor. Those themes were great for a certain period of time, but challenging to sustain, especially with these areas of focus we want to develop. We have stopped the advertising campaigns with the pin-up girls and the flight suit girls. These campaigns don’t accurately reflect today’s society and the women of today. We have to be more considerate of the diversity in society.
So to sum up: the words we use; the products we make and the advertising campaigns that we create. We have a clear strategy but the implementation is as important. A smart strategy without the right implementation will not work and implementation without a vision is useless. You need both and I think in the six to eight months that I’ve been at Breitling, never in my whole career have I experienced so many changes at such speed.
Will in-house movements see more representation?
We will grow our in-house movements, of course. Everything we launch will see some representation with Breitling movements.
The tri-compax (3, 6, 9 on the dial) that now comes in a bi-colour design will be a signature of that presence. It’s a historical Breitling look of the mid-century era and we want to preserve that heritage.
Breitling-modified movements will always be monotone. It’s like having a Porsche 911 or buying the 911 Turbo. It’s the same car but at a different price point. Going from $5,000 to $7,200, it’s a price barrier we need to counter with an alternative offer. But my priority is for Breitling to become a very legible brand. With the new collection, it’s very easy to read. It’s clear and segmented. We’ve stopped all the variations of these rubber straps and will keep just one version. Dilution of a brand comes when you have one line but you make it in 100 executions, not when you have four lines in 20 executions.
Breitling is (or, was) essentially an aviation brand and it has captured that niche. Is there a risk that the brand takes in changing that up?
Of course not. What worked yesterday doesn’t mean it will work tomorrow. I remember when Spain was a European champion and a world champion. But when they came to the next World Cup with the same team, coach and system, they didn’t win one single match.
You have to evolve with the market. You have to adjust, in all these elements I’ve mentioned. I’m not here to keep the status quo. You don’t need me for that; you can take anybody. We are here to elevate the brand to a global level, to bring back elements that made the brand very successful in the ’40s to the ’70s.
Take Range Rover for example. When Tata bought over the company, Range Rover had always made four-wheel drives. Then a new guy walks in and suddenly they did Evoque and Evoque Convertible. Remember, when Porsche launched the Cayenne and people said the company would go bankrupt? Then after that they launched the Panamera, the Macan, and everyone said it would fail. Guess what is the bestselling car at Porsche? The Cayenne.
And what are they saying now about Breitling?
Here’s an interesting point for all the people fixated on the big statement Breitling watches with the wings and motifs (AM: Kern is referring to the naysayers). On a very rational level, I examined which Breitling line sold the most over the last 18 months. It’s the Superocean Heritage. It’s the mesh band, classic, beautiful, no wings, retro, back to the roots̶reassurance, beauty, good taste (AM: The Superocean Heritage also happens to be one of the more affordable watches). I say, let the consumer decide. I always stand by my choices in taste. I cannot change that. And if by chance, I have the same taste as the consumer, we are in perfect harmony. AM
“THE (COMFORT) STRAP’S UNPRECEDENTED LIGHTNESS MADE IT POSSIBLE TO BRING THE WEIGHT OF THE RM 67-02 DOWN TO 32G, MAKING IT THE LIGHTEST AUTOMATIC WATCH IN THE RICHARD MILLE COLLECTION”
machined from a block of red Quartz TPT®, a composite material using the same process as the Carbon TPT® but based on silica threads. It is composed of over 600 layers of parallel filaments obtained from separating silica threads no thicker than 45 microns. The crenature along the curved edges, a characteristic of Richard Mille sports pieces, distinguishes the watch from the lifestyle models while strengthening its structure.
At the heart of the watch, ready for every possible contingency of high-level tennis practice, beats the brand’s seventh in-house calibre, the CRMA7, with its especially taut, finely honed lines. The filigree rotor, crafted of Carbon TPT® and white gold, drives the grade 5 titanium movement. The baseplate and bridges crafted in this material are given a black and grey DLC coating. Following the several hundred hours required to programme and calibrate the machines, a minimum of two hours of milling is required to create the extreme skeletonisation of a single baseplate.
The teeth of its gears employ a highly original involute profiling that produces a 20-degree pressure angle and guarantees optimal transmission of power from the barrel to the variable-inertia balance wheel for the entirety of its 50-hour running time. The lines of the movement are complemented by the dial, which is machined from a sheet of titanium just four tenths of a millimetre thick, then finished with a black DLC coating and painted by hand in colours representing the sportsman’s native country.
A real game-changer of the RM 67-02 is the brand’s revolutionary elastic strap known as “comfort” band, developed especially for watches worn by the sportsmen of the Richard Mille family. It’s an alternative to Velcro with even more lightness, reinforced with elasticity and seamless, non-slip qualities that perfectly fits the contours of the wrist like a second skin for superior comfort and movement. This strap’s unprecedented lightness made it possible to bring the weight of the RM 67-02 down to 32g, making it the lightest automatic watch in the Richard Mille collection. AM
The Navitimer Super 8 is a fine expression of Kern’s new direction—a cleaner, more practical aesthetic that corresponds to the fussfree a itude of modern times, complemented with a retro-industrial, lifestyle-driven communication style that reflects the neovintage zeitgeist of the era.
Today, Breitling is focused on preserving the most iconic features of its heritage, such as the tri-compax, now in bi-colour, and a more understated design approach, as seen in the new Chronomat B01 Chronograph 44 in satin-brushed steel.