The legacy of The Glenlivet is well-known by lovers of Speyside single malt Scotch whisky worldwide. This week a select group of industry professionals and I met at the posh haberdashery, The Wing Tip, for a private tasting of this iconic label’s Nadurra line of single malts.
Nàdurra is Gaelic for natural. Glenlivet’s Nàdurra whiskies are produced and bottled in small lots using the same methods as the original 19th century offerings, bottled at cask strength and non-chill filtered, resulting in a full-bodied whisky with a rich and creamy mouthfeel.
The Nàdurra line-up for the evening was as follows:
Oloroso Matured - 58.7% abv
The richest of the flight, in terms of flavor, this whisky was matured in first fill Oloroso sherry oak casks, imparting signature flavors of dried fruits and baking spices to this single malt whisky. In this case, each barrel held well over 1 liter of sherry in the wood, which added to the striking color and rich, candied palate of the finished whisky. A few drops of water highlighted lovely flavors of dried fig and a touch of sweet, pipe tobacco.
Color: Golden amber.
Nose: Lovely aromas of raisin, dried apricot, cinnamon and licorice.
Palate: Christmas pudding, very rich, dried cherry, fig and candied orange.
Finish: Long, spicy and with the signature sweetness of the sherry cask echoed throughout.
First Fill Selection – 60.3% abv
My favorite of the flight, the First Fill Selection, crafted to replace the Nàdurra 16 year, was matured in new American oak barrels. Showing beautiful fruit on the palate, this whisky really opens up with a few drops of water, transitioning from banana to pineapple, a delightfully oily and viscous mouthfeel, and a soft finish with a touch of coconut. Positively dazzling!
Color: Pale Gold.
Nose: Fresh apple, pear and fragrant vanilla.
Palate: Ripe banana, pear, vanilla and orange peel, pineapple.
Finish: Medium finish, very elegant, melts into an oily coconut macaroon on the backend.
Peated Whisky Cask Finish – 61.5% abv
The first peated Glenlivet to be released in over 100 years, this is quite possibly the most elegantly executed use of peat that I have sampled. This whisky is finished in American oak first fill heavily peated Scotch casks at the final stage of aging. This whisky starts out with juicy apple then gives way to toffee and a delicate puff of smoke. The addition of a few drops of water really opens a lovely citrus peel element that rounds out the full palate. This, in my opinion, is the perfect whisky to introduce even the most skeptical drinker to the appreciation of the peated style—subtle, balanced and timeless.
Nose: Fresh apple with a lovely hint of smoke
Palate: Baked apple, toffee and smoke-laced citrus peel.
Finish: Long, layered, finish with lots of spice and delicate smoke.
All in all this was a beautiful flight of distinct, yet signature, single malt Scotch whiskies that truly set the benchmark in terms of expressing diversity within a signature house style. My compliments to the master distiller! I encourage you to try one—or all three, for a unique experience in single malt Scotch whisky.
Baroness of Booze