Thursday, March 17, 2011

Glenlivet Nádurra

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)

Other Glenlivet reviews:

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  1. Happy St. Paddy's Day! I assume you'll be doing some celebration in honor of St. Patrick driving the devil from Ireland and into England. Today I get my lone exception from my alcohol fasting for Lent for a couple of Guinnesses (though a Redbreast would have been nice too).

    The Nadurra is one that has always intrigued me especially as one of the most reasonably priced caskers out there. I'm never felt much urgency to get it though and figured I'll buy a bottle when I've run out of more interesting options. Nice review!

  2. Snakes, the Devil, pagans, something like that...

    Thanks, and I'm glad you liked the review! I think I'm a bit more forgiving towards Glenlivet than you, but still, the Nadurra isa good dram.

    I must confess, I don't do much for St. Paddy's Day anymore. If my cold is on the mend enough, perhaps I'll have a dram tonight, but the days of getting tipsy during the week in honor of an Irish religious holiday are long past.

    Just as a note, the Sundays that fall during Lent are not officially considered part of Lent. Lent is the 40 days from Ash Wednesday until Easter, not counting Sundays. Thus, according to strict Catholic rules, you should be able to imbibe on Sundays without breaking the letter of your vow (the spirit of the sacrafice may not exactly remain intact, but that's the beauty of Catholicism, for every rule, there's a loophole).

  3. The lack of chill-filtration is also real obvious if the whisky is at room temperature. Any amount of water added will bring out that haze.