Once upon a time, and a very nice time it was, Glenlivet, one of the two most popular single malt brands in the world and consequently not too concerned with the small hardcore enthusiast market made a malt for that market anyway. This was the Nadurra. Matured in ex-bourbon casks for at least 16 years and released in batches, the Nadurra was the one Glenlivet that the small hardcore enthusiast market was enthusiastic about. Naturally the distillery decided to fuck with a good thing and in 2014, or thereabouts, they dropped the age statement and introduced an oloroso version of the Nadurra, and then later a peated version. Well, to be frank it’s not just the distillery that’s responsible for this turn of events; it’s also whisky geeks who fetishize heavily sherried and peated malts. The Glenlivet brain trust probably thought this was what the cool kids wanted: Aberlour A’bunadh and Glenfarclas 105 and all that. And for all I know, the cool kids have indeed been buying these new Nadurras and proving the brain trust right. I’d meant to try the oloroso version myself when it first came out but never got around to it and then forgot about it. But now thanks to a bottle split I finally get to try one of the early releases, from 2015. Will it make me regret not having gotten aboard right away? Let’s see.
Glenlivet Nadurra, Oloroso (60.3%; OL1015; from a bottle split)
Nose: Hot and closed with nothing but generic leafy and metallic notes emerging at first. As it sits there’s a rubberiness , some powdered ginger, and some bitter oak extract ; and then a bit of orange peel. A big splash of water pushes the sharper oak back a bit (but just a bit); not much of interest emerges, however—maybe a bit of milky cocoa?
Palate; Better on the palate with richer sherry notes and none of the rubber or ginger or bitter oak. Very hot at full strength though. Alas, with time the ginger pops out in full force, bring some astringent oak with it; between those notes and the alcohol burn there’s no reason to be drinking this at full strength. Let’s see if water makes a difference. Well, it pushes the oak back and brings out some metallic sweetness but there’s nothing to get excited about.
Finish: Long. Uninteresting—the sherry turns to cooking sherry as it goes. As on the palate with water but at least the cooking sherry goes away.
Comments: This is utterly ordinary. I wish Glenlivet had stuck with the old ex-bourbon Nadurra instead of getting on the generic, young sherry bomb bandwagon. That said, this is the only release I’ve tried and others may be better. This one doesn’t motivate me to look for more though. Unsurprisingly, it’s much more drinkable with water. Have you had batches that were better/similar/worse? Write in below.
Rating: 78 points.