Jul 112016
 

Glenlivet Nadurra Batch 0814DIMG_2359

55.7% abv

Score:  91/100

 

I remarked at one point how this malt seemed to be an underappreciated darling in the wider whisky world.  Fast forward to the present and that seems to be far from the case.  There is a very loyal – and ever-growing – following for this cask strength Glenlivet.  Past Nadurra reviews are some of the most popular on this site and the comment sections beneath still maintain momentum long after the fact.  Ergo, it seemed apropos to tackle another batch (before they all disappear in favour of the NAS offerings)

I recently came across this bottle for under $80 locally (fair price, if you know the lay of the land in terms of how far our dollar stretches lately).  Unfortunately most of the Nadurra I see on the shelves nowadays is one of the dodgy NAS versions the brand has launched as a replacement for this fairly consistent (and generally high quality) 16 year old.  I believe – and please correct me if I’m wrong – that the 16 year Nadurra is on its way out in favour of the smokescreen malts just mentioned.  A shame, and nearly as big a botch on the ‘Livet name as the recent Cipher and Alpha.  But let’s not trip down that rabbit hole here.

Happy to report that Batch 0814D holds to the high standards established under this banner.  The malt is not only meticulously crafted, but lands right in an absolutely gorgeous sweet spot of soft fruits and creamy character.  I’m not quite as enamoured with Nadurra as some of the regular readers here on ATW who horde the stuff, but this is one batch I will likely grab an extra bottle or two of before it goes the way of the dodo and mastodon.

Nose:  Huge orange top note and soft mixed fruit.  Vanilla and custard.  Creamsicles.  Hot cross buns.  A smear of jam.  Very fresh, fruity and appealing.  Roman nougat.  Very dessert-like.  Caramelized pineapple with pepper.

Palate:  Awww, hell yeah.  There’s that orange again.  More fruit.  And more.  There’s an oakiness behind it too.  Like sucking the stick of a creamsicle after the ice cream is gone.  Quite some vanilla.  Ginger.  Honey candy straws.  Chewy and oily.  A very thick drink.

Thoughts:  Nudging on into tropical territory.  I love this whisky.  Shows well on any occasion.

 

 – Images & Words:  Curt

 Posted by at 12:28 pm
Oct 062014
 

038Glenlivet Nàdurra 16 y.o. (Batch 0712U)

55.5% abv

Score:  89/100

 

I cracked open this batch of Nadurra with a bunch of good friends just shy of two weeks ago.  Between us, we managed to put a healthy dent in the bottle that night (along with a few others), and I’m not gonna lie…the bottom half of this one has been calling to me in the evenings ever since.  I figured we should maybe get ’round to sharing some notes before there was nothing left to share notes on.

Nadurra is, quite simply, one of the most consistent and seemingly underrated malts on the market. Maybe ‘underrated’ is the wrong word.  ‘Under-mentioned’, is more in line with what I’m trying to get across.  While quite universally respected, it never seems to garner as many mentions as several of its contemporaries do (105, a’bunadh, etc).  I’m not sure if this is due to the preconceptions associated with the rather simple and prototypical Speyside profile we generally ascribe to the name Glenlivet, or if there are other factors at play.  Or maybe its simply a matter of where I’m looking and who I’m speaking to.  Either way, Nadurra deserves to be held up as a shining example of well-crafted single malt whisky.

‘Nadurra’ is the Gaelic word for ‘natural’.  It is a batch-released whisky served up big and bold, and is sort of a poster child for the model that, in my opinion, all distilleries should be following (age-stated, cask strength, non chill-filtered, etc).  I think we’ve gone through most of this before spiel before, so let’s just get on with it.  What say?

I should note, before we get into tasting notes, that I specifically remember the day I bought this bottle.  I was wandering the shop with a handful of dollars burning a hole in my pocket and a view to doing a future write-up.  I couldn’t really find anything that was lighting my fire, and ended up settling for this one.  I recall leaving the store slightly disappointed that I hadn’t found something more exciting and unique to bring home, but there is absolutely no regret now.  This is a great bottle, and one I may try to track down a second of if any are still dust-gathering around here.

Nose:  Peach tarts.  Freshly peeled apples.  Perfume / floral notes.  Toasted wood.  Cinnamon.  Pepper.  Ginger.  Slightly creamy.  Utterly brilliant nose.  Nothing too complex, but rings out like a beautiful harmonic.

Palate:  Great delivery.  Kinda peppery.  Woods and apple right up front.  Just a hint of peach again, but that may be olfactory carryover.  Now ginger and mixed spice.  A kind of ‘champagne-like’ nutty, herbal note.  Tart apple skins on the finish.  Somewhat drying.

Thoughts:  Great right off the cork, but even better once it settles down in the glass for a few minutes.  There’s a wonderful creaminess that develops over time. Great stuff. I love it when a malt I remember as being a favorite from way back still manages to knocks my socks off by now being even better than I recall.  This is still a top notch malt, years on from when I first tried it. Absolutely no quality slippage here, and this particular batch is one of the best versions of Nadurra I’ve come across.

 

– Reviewed by:  Curt

– Photo:  Curt

 

 

 Posted by at 1:25 pm
Aug 062012
 

Glenlivet 12 y.o.

40% abv

Score:  83/100

 

It is hard to think of Glenlivet 12 without comparing it to Glenfiddich 12.  Together or alone they epitomize the Speyside character, and are neck and neck as the top two selling malts in the global market.  You can see how comparisons are inevitable.  Though I hope this review stands alone, Ideally you, dear reader, would have a glass of each in front of you to follow along and tell me if you agree.

Glenlivet is known as ‘the single malt that started it all’.  The distillery was founded in 1824 to much controversy.  As whisky distillation was all done on the downlow to shun the excise man and the Excise Act of 1823, George Smith’s decision to license his business and go legit met with…to put it mildly…a little indignation.  A neat history there, but as you should know by now…I am here to tell you about the dram, not the drama behind it.  So…on to the whisky!

First things first…I absolutely prefer the nose of this Glenlivet to that of the Glenfiddich 12.  The boldest threads to be picked out of the scents here are bright red berries, sweet peaches or nectarines, flowery notes and crunchy red MacIntosh apple.  It seems slightly drier, tangier and more mature than the Glenfiddich 12 (and I have a glass of each beside me to prove it!).  Gotta be honest though…the Glenfiddich wins on the palate for sure.

The delivery of the Glenlivet to the tongue is sweet.  Very sweet.  Apples again…wood…a hint of vanilla.  A bit of sweet and sour.  Falls down a little on the finish with not a lot of length or development beyond the initial discoveries.

None too shabby.  Not something I’d go to often, but wouldn’t shy away from a proffered dram either.  So long as the follow-up offering was a little more…ahem…extravagant.

 

– Reviewed by:  Curt

– Photo:  Curt

 Posted by at 7:24 pm
Jul 292012
 

Glenlivet Nadurra (Batch 1109I)

54.2% abv

Score:  89/100

 

Now this is a Glenlivet I can sink my teeth into.  And have.  Here you are seeing a more fully realized vision of just what this distillery is capable of.  Though I know all of the reasons why a distillery would choose to go the safe route of chill-filtered watered down whisky, it doesn’t mean I have to like it or agree with it.

The Nadurra is the muscle in the Glenlivet family.  In fact it almost seems like an in-law, so out of character is it from the other Glenlivet expressions I’ve tried.  Gaelic for ‘natural’, ‘Nadurra’ is a non-chill-filtered cask strength bruiser that somehow still manages to carry the delicacy of the Speyside charm in its monstrous hands.  A true Jeckyll and Hyde story here.

All notes are amped up here and the whisky benefits enormously from this strength.  Sweet toffee or caramel is made smooth and soft with dollops of vanilla.  Rich chocolate and cinnamon notes get a dusting of cracked pepper and maybe a little ginger.  All of the Spey fruits you’d imagine in a Glenlivet are here hanging out too.

The palate delivers that sweetness with a blast of heat.  Those toffeed fruit notes coat the tongue and carry the chocolate and ginger along for the ride.  Gorgeous.  Not quite as rich and rewarding as the nose, but absolutely satisfying nonetheless.  No worries about a fading finish.  This one will hang about for a bit.

Well worth it.  A great version of Glenlivet.

I should note here:  No review on this site gets as much attention as this one.  Why is it so many out there are looking for details on the Nadurra?  Please, folks…enlighten me.

 

Reviewed by:  Curt

– Photo:  Curt

 Posted by at 2:24 pm
May 192012
 

Gordon & MacPhail Generations Glenlivet 70

45.9% abv

 

Score:  92/100

 

I’ve been at sixes and sevens with a respected mate of mine as to how good this whisky is (or isn’t).  I contest ‘winner’.  He accedes ‘not bad’.  Damning with faint praise, really, when one considers the magnitude of the malt we are debating.  This is the second in Gordon & MacPhail’s Generations line, a 1940 Glenlivet.  Following hard on the heels of last year’s spectacular 1938 Mortlach, this ‘Livet is again a case study in dispelling all preconceptions of inevitable over-oaking of whisky when left too long in the barrel.  How the hell can something sit in wood for 70 years without coming out tasting like bitter wood chips?  Mind-boggling.

The argument said mate puts forth is that simply surviving this long does not a good malt make.  He is, of course, absolutely correct.  Where he takes the low road and I take the high ( ;)  ) is in regards to the inherent quality of this wizened old whisky.  I stand behind it…this is a really damn good whisky.

Cask #339 was a first fill sherry butt casked in 1940 with Glenlivet new make spirit.  After sitting in the warehouses at the Glenlivet distillery for 40 years, Gordon & MacPhail acquired the barrel on the 10th of June, 1980.  The decision to leave this whisky in wood was a brilliant one.  A further 30 years passed while this cask lay biding its time in the hallowed halls of the G&M warehouses.  What was finally decanted for 2011 was another fountain-of-youth miracle from Gordon & MacPhail.  One hundred 70cl and one hundred and seventy five 20cl bottles saw the light of day this year, with a further hundred or so held for 2012.

It is hard not to note, as well, that at 70 years, and with an evaporation loss of about 2/3 of the cask, this spirit was still a respectable 45.9% abv.  Again…astounding.  I would have expected this to have been well below bottling strength by this age.

The years are worn proudly in the way of candlewax, char, warm leather and deep smoky oak notes.  Soft toffee and melting chocolate are forefront.  There is a surprising spice that runs perfectly in step alongside threads of orange.  Muted berry, vanilla bean and creamy caramel meat smoke round out the profile.  The ultimate triumph here is how restrained the wood really is.  This whisky may not be too far from the tipping point but at 70 years old it still has not reached the point of being over-oaked.

The palate is rubbery and waxy, rich in a kerosene smokiness.  It is oily and mouthcoating, with fruits still alive against all odds.  The development is slow and comfortable.  Waxy wood notes linger and tart fruit skins recede slowly through the fade.  The finish is long, mature and incredibly drying.  I should add…when the dram is done, the empty glass has a unique character all its own…a charming sweet smoky caramel.

This is a malt that takes me away to lakeside cabins in the fall…Canadian autumns and early snows.

That G&M has been able to release two 70 year old whiskies in the past year or so, speaks volumes about their warehouses.  When asked recently about further releases in this Generations range, Michael Urquhart neatly sidestepped, confirming only that this is indeed a range.  Short answer…yes…the G&M stores hold more mindblowing malts in varying stages of age-defying suspended animation.

Is this as good as last year’s Mortlach?  Nae.  Is it good though?  Undoubtedly.

 

– Reviewed by:  Curt

– Photo:  Curt

 Posted by at 8:36 pm