Review: Glenlivet Nádurra
Price: $60 - 65
Strength: 59.6 % ABV
My wife and I went to dinner with some friends last weekend, and of course, brought along a bottle of single malt, good Scotch being even better in good company. So, in addition to a rather lovely bottle that the Scotch fairy got for me (an upcoming review, to be sure), we also grabbed a bottle of Glenlivet Nádurra, one I've had a few years ago. I've always liked Glenlivet. They're not exactly the most exciting of Scotches, but the 12 year makes a great introduction to Scotch and nice benchmark to measure other malts against. I personally like to refer to Glenlivet as the "Guinness" of Scotches; it's ubiquitous, pleasant, and much like Guinness for stouts, there are better examples out there, but Glenlivet makes a good point of reference to measure up against other Speyside or Highland malts. There are other words on the matter, of course, but I still like my comparison.
Besides, the Nádurra makes up for some of the faults of the 12 in a big way. Nádurra is a Gaelic word meaning "natural," probably in reference to the Nádurra's presentation as a cask strength, non-chill filtered whisky. This was the first malt I had from either category, and indeed, was my introduction to both notions. Non-chill filtering meant little to me when I first tried the Nádurra, but I grasped the difference at my very first sip. The Nádurra's texture is, in a word, buttery. The cask strength presentation means there's a fair bit of alcohol, but there is also huge flavor and texture! Chill filtering removes proteins, fatty acids, and other complex molecules that would form a haze if the whisky were chilled, but in the process, clearly strips richness and texture from the body.
Like all cask strength presentations, the flavors are huge. Deep caramel sweetness mixes with buttery oak throughout. Others tasters note floral hints in this and other Glenlivet expressions, but I must admit, I haven't really found such notes myself. The alcohol is big but manageable, particularly with a splash of water. Perhaps not as complex a flavor profile as say a Glenmorangie, but still a pleasant dram, and a great introduction to the world of cask strength and non-chill filtered malts. 83 (B)
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