The Glenlivet Nàdurra Oloroso

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I will probably be needing a few more holidays. Not because Tiger is getting on my nerves at EWB headquarters, or Turbo is necking all the beer in the fridge, but because travel retail seems to be producing some great expressions at the moment. Bowmore are on the cusp of releasing three good editions (Gold Reef in particular is great) and a few weeks ago I was lucky enough to be at the launch of a new range of Glenlivet Nàdurra releases. YAY, more Nàdurra! I can hear you shout. And rightly so, as it is, and always has been, a cracking dram. The Glenlivet Nàdurra Oloroso was the only edition to be announced on the evening and is originally only available in a 48% ABV version at travel retail. A fully charged cask strength Nàdurra Oloroso should be released to the general public later in the year (probably September/October time). Hopefully this marks the beginning of some different and excellent cask strength Nàdurra releases to come.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Nàdurra bottling’s (Hoban actually reviewed a batch as a fresh faced loon back in 2010!), it is a great range of whiskies that has been part of the Glenlivet portfolio since 2005. Nàdurra is the Gaelic word for ‘natural’ and the range strives to fulfil this name by being distilled in small batches, matured in first-fill casks and bottled without chill-filtration and without the addition of caramel. It has always been a staple of my whisky diet, a bloody excellent dram and one that I always enjoy around the start of summer, when I’m basking in the few days of sun the Scottish summer can muster.

Up until now the Glenlivet Nàdurra had always been matured in first-fill ex-bourbon barrels. The Nàdurra Oloroso release changes that trend. In fact it is the FIRST major release from Glenlivet to be matured solely in first-fill ex-sherry casks (I believe there has been some rare single-cask sherry releases though). Alan Winchester, Master Distiller at Glenlivet since 2009, told us that the closest thing to a fully sherried Glenlivet release before this was the premium Glenlivet XXV, priced at £199.99 here. The Nàdurra Oloroso, with no age statement, will be much more affordable. Exciting and kind of unbelievable considering the sheer volume of whisky that the second biggest selling single malt in the world produces.

I was excited to taste it. Alan Winchester was excited for us to taste it. I bet you guys are excited to taste it. So, guess what? I tasted it:

The Glenlivet Nadurra Oloroso

The Glenlivet Nàdurra Oloroso
Travel Retail Edition
Non-Chill Filtered
48%ABV

Nose: Quite earthy to start, damp oak, freshly laid turf and a slight meaty, struck match note that is to be expected from a fully Oloroso matured whisky. Dried raisins, caramelised onion chutney and a sweeter dried apricot note. The earthy/chutney notes move on, leaving a sticky sweetness like spiced orange marmalade. Plenty going on.

Palate:  Very dry to begin. That may be that earthiness from the nose and some fine, crumbly, dark chocolate notes. It develops a smooth, sweet syrup note that coats the teeth. Thick and tangy, very chew-able chocolate raisins. A rich, juiciness is added to the sweetness, again a spiced orange marmalade. A whisky that tastes like it noses.

Finish: After such a huge initial flavour the finish is quite soft and sweet. Back to the dry spice rather than the juiciness.

Overall: A beast of a whisky. A very different beast to the lively, zestiness of the traditional Nàdurra releases. I can not wait for the full strength version to be released, it promises to be very exciting! However, while we wait for that, I may just have to pop to duty free to buy a bottle.

Cheers,

Graeme Gardiner