Glenlivet Nadurra Oloroso

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Distillery/Brand: Glenlivet | Region: Speyside | ABV: 48% | Colour: Young Sauterne
Nose: 22 | Taste: 20 | Finish: 20 | Balance: 21 | Rating: 83

Review
I’m not the only one who claims the original Nadurra 16 Cask Strength as one of their favorite whiskies of all time. I mean come on! That near perfect crisp green apple served at a deliciously high strength has made many an evening.

There’s a number of Nadurras in circulation. There is the first-fill bourbon aged for 16 years and then bottled at cask strength (which varies in the mid 50s ABV). Then there is the slightly watered down to 48% version of the same whisky. There is a 1991 vintage known as the Triumph.

And now this latest NAS offering matured in Oloroso casks found pretty much only in travel retail.
For those who read my reviews know that I am wary of Oloroso influencing good whisky and completely taking over it. I have seen it happen on many occasions. Perfectly reasonable whiskies get treated with Oloroso overkill and are reduced to muddy, sweet syrup which hide the true essence of the expression.

I’ve seen it happen too many times and I’m seeing it again!

This NAS Nadurra matured in Oloroso is bottled at 48% and my sample is from a brand new bottle (code 0L0614)

Nose: Manuka honey. Orange. Brown chocolate. Very earthy. Autumn leaves. Clove. Cherry. Licorice. Strawberry jam. Port or some other type of fortified wine. Soft dates. The nose is not too bad. Quite typical Oloroso influence.

Palate: Full mouthfeel. Mild cinnamon. Bitter chocolate. Dark honey. Plums. Coconut oil. Oak. Gets quite savory mid-palate. Gets more muddy. More confused. Starts off nice but loses grip towards the end.

Finish: Barely there. Maybe some oak. Maybe some cinnamon.

Why try and fix something which is not only not broken but quite gloriously in one brilliant piece? Maybe the new Nadurra spirit coming out of Glenlivet is not as pristine as it’s predecessor and, hence, the Oloroso plays a masking game? Perhaps. I certainly hope not.

Regardless the result is slightly below average whisky which doesn’t even come close to it’s 16 year old namesake. Quite sad, indeed.

Rating: 83

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Glenlivet 17 Chivas Brothers Cask Strength

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Distillery/Brand: Glenlivet | Region: Speyside | ABV: 55.7% | Color: Sunlight
Nose: 23 | Taste: 22 | Finish: 21 | Balance: 21 | Rating: 87

Review
I like this concept. Chivas has come out with a range of cask strength single cask whiskies from it’s portfolio which are presented in interesting to look at generic 50cl bottles complete with hand written labels.

Well, they’re made to look hand written anyway.

Very interesting to look at and I like the concept behind them too. Quite affordable and at ages and strengths that can’t be purchased as part of standard bottlings.

They currently have quite a few in this collection ranging from a Tormore 15 to a Glen Keith 20 and quite a few in between. What I have in my hand is a 17 year old Glenlivet matured exclusively in bourbon barrels.

My sample is from a brand new bottle from Batch GL 17 013 and served at a cask strength of 55.7%

Nose: Reminded me of the Nadurra 16 and why not? More or less the same treatment to the same distillate. Malt butter. Peaches. Bourbon. Grist. Barley. Husk. Bright honey. Sharp citrus. Marzipan. Almonds. All spice. Floral. Pink Melon. Quite a fresh nose. I like it.

Palate: Honey. Barley. White pepper Melon. Chocolate. Garam masala. Oak. Vanilla. Not as great as the nose but still pretty good. Very nice texture though it has a touch of something bitter towards the end.

Finish: The bitterness is a touch stronger now. Coffee. Cinnamon. Oak.

I like the thinking behind this range even if I this particular expression did not blow me away. The something slightly bitter threw me off towards the end. Still quite nice and drinkable.

Rating: 87

Glenlivet Alpha

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Distillery/Brand: Glenlivet | Region: Speyside | ABV: 50% | Color: Pale Straw
Nose: 22 | Taste: 21 | Finish: 22 | Balance: 22 | Rating: 87

Review
Glenlivet decided to play a little game with us whisky noobs last year. It released a whisky with absolutely no information. Nothing on the type of cask. Nothing on the age. Also it released only 3500 bottles worldwide. And decided it would be a good idea to let people come up with their own theories.

Not a bad stunt if you ask. Though certainly not a unique one. Jim Mcewan holds that distinction with the Bruichladdich Black Art and Blacker Still. A secret he’s yet to reveal.

Glenlivet, though, made everyone wait six weeks before revealing how this whisky was made through a video on their website. Though before you could get to the reveal you had to play a little game trying to identify flavors and aromas before the video could actually be played. A fun little game if you ask me.

The video then finally revealed that the Alpha was a No Age Statement (how disappointing) whisky and without any chill filtration or added color (no real surprises there).

What is really interesting is that the casks used for maturation were actually new wood casks that previously held single malt whisky! I don’t think anyone has ever done that before. It is still typically a Glenlivet, though, and I’m not sure I found anything really different about this.

My sample is from a brand new bottle and served at 50%

Nose: Very sweet. Vanilla. Pudding. Citrus. Lemon. Hard boiled sweets. Wild flowers. Fresh grass. Pineapple. It has all the calling cards of the distillery but none of the complexity. I found it quite uncomplicated. Still not bad, though.

Palate: Spice. Pineapple. Honey. Apricots. Pear. Pudding. Sweets. Lemon. Citrus. Honey. Vanilla. Interesting palate. Feels young to me. Has quite a spicy zing to it. The fruits come out next. But once again not the most complex whisky I’ve drunk.

Finish: Medium. Spicy sweet. Hint of vanilla. Very strong oak.

This is a greatly presented whisky. I like all the marketing shenanigans that went behind putting it out there.

Did it blow me away? No.

Am I glad I have it sitting on my shelf? Why not?

Rating: 87

The Glenlivet Guardians Chapter

Glenlivet GuardiansChapter
Distillery/Brand: Glenlivet | Region: Speyside | ABV: 48.7% | Color: Young Sauternes
Nose: 22 | Taste: 22 | Finish: 23 | Balance: 22 | Rating: 89

Review
About a year ago I was invited to a special Glenlivet evening. The idea was to get a bunch of whisky geeks in a room, present them with three different spirits and get a general consensus on which was the most popular.

This is how The Glenlivet decided to launch their newest expression – The Guardians Chapter. Pretty neat, I must admit.

So first we were given a whisky called The Classic. Typical Glenlivet flavors. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was just the 12 year old at a slightly higher strength. Anyway, it did not impress.

The second dram was called The Revival. Better than the first but still not good enough, in my opinion. Lacked personality basically.

The final installment of the evening was The Exotic. The best of the lot. Much more assertive than the first two. Strong flavors and an aggressive sherry attack.

This was the one that the majority (including my self) voted for at the end of the evening. And much to our smug satisfaction ended up on shelves as The Glenlivets’ latest expression – The Guardians Chapter.

A collection of hogsheads, Spanish sherry butts and American oak this is quite a tasty little whisky.

Nose: Warm chocolate and dark oranges with spicy clove. Natural caramel. Almond husks with a dry cinnamon rub. Dried fruits including dark raisins. Quite a strong vanilla and banana molasses layer to the proceedings.

Palate: Instant spice. Black peppers and dark fruits. Dark berries too. Strong cinnamon twist on an almond creme brulee.

Finish: Quite possibly the strongest coffee / mochachino and cinnamon finish I have ever experienced.

This is an above average spirit and I’d like to think I had a little something to do with it.

Rating: 89

Glenlivet 25 Year old XXV

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Distillery/Brand: Glenlivet
Region: Speyside
ABV: 43%
Colour: Young Sauternes

Nose: 23
Taste: 21
Finish: 21
Balance: 21

Review
There are some whiskies that entrance you for some reason and for me The Glenlivet XXV was one of them. It was gifted to me by a friend a couple of years ago and, for sentimental reasons, I chose not to open it. Instead two years later I purchased a new one intending to open it with the same friend as a New Years treat.

Big mistake.

Looks like I’m a victim of some serious batch variance and happened to snag a less than stellar bottling. This one was bottled on January 21, 2013 and bears the Batch# 0910A. So have a look before you decide to shell out US$350 for a bottle.

Nose: The nose is extremely promising coming at you with an almost bourbon like quality. Strong citrus layered in dark honey, boiled sweets and butterscotch with some Quality Street chocolates. But then a disconcerting whiff of fresh linen which can only lead me to believe the presence of sulphur. It’s not terribly off-putting but it certainly does not belong there.

Palate: The palate. The disappointing palate. Watery. Mediocre. The same chocolate and citrus but now some nuts, cinnamon and banana. But something a touch off. The sulphur? Maybe

Finish: The finish is goes up in a puff of mild dark pepper leaving me shaking my head in disappointment.

Not the best way to round off the year.

Rating: 86