...where distraction is the main attraction.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

The Spring Whiskies: Glenlivet Nadurra 16 year old, batch 0309H

Ha HA! I did take a picture
of this one.

Man, the last time I reviewed the Nadurra was way back during this blog's first few months of whisky reviews.  I'm not even sure which batch I had reviewed.  Things have changed since then.

I've always thought Nadurra was in a league separate from Glenlivet's 12 and 15 year olds, sort of like Glenfiddich's Distillery Edition compared to its own 12 and regular 15.  But I actually like Fiddich's 12 and 15, while I cannot say the same about Glenlivet's 12 and 15.  In fact, it's difficult to name any official 10-12yo single malt that I like less than the current Glenlivet 12.

Unlike some of its younger brethren, Nadurra 16 is all ex-bourbon barrel stuff.  In some batches, one can find really good casks in the mix.  While I've heard that recent batches (from 2013 and especially 2014) didn't match the quality of earlier ones, I can neither confirm or deny that possibility.  What I can confirm is that as of 2015 the age statement has gone away and the prices have risen.  Meanwhile, there are now NAS cask strength bourbon barrel batches, NAS cask strength sherry cask batches, and 48%abv batches of both for duty free.  Recently I had a glass of the CS sherry stuff and found the nose to be better than the palate, though with air the palate improved.  But overall it wasn't good enough to inspire me to buy a bottle.

Wow, that last paragraph was a mess.  I'll move on.

This bottle of Nadurra was from batch 0309H, which means it was the eighth batch overall and was dumped together in March 2009.  The bottling code on the back of the bottle shows April 2009.  And on the front it has the old Nadurra label.

Brand: The Glenlivet
Ownership: Chivas Brothers (Pernod Ricard)
Region: Speyside (Livet)
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Maturation: American (ex-bourbon) oak casks
Age: minimum 16 years
Batch: 0309H (batched in March 2009)
Bottled: April 2009
Alcohol by Volume: 55.1%
Colored? Possibly
Chillfiltered? No

The color is a medium gold; there appears to be less e150a here than in Glenfiddich's Distillery Edition.  The nose begins very fruity: exotic tropical stuff, overripe peaches, clementines, and ripe honeydew.  Over time the fruit notes become more floral.  Meanwhile there are also notes of salted caramel ice cream, toffee pudding, and key lime pie, along with brief moments of vinyl raincoats and barrel char.  The palate is fruity up front too, more like lemon and lime zests.  It's thick and (wood) spicy.  Puddings, hard candies, and lollipops surround a roasty malt core.  Time in the glass reveals smaller notes of salt, burnt grains, and black peppercorns.  The long finish has rich vanilla and caramel, along with black cherry soda and lime lollipops.  This sweetness is met by a hint of spicy rye spirit and black peppercorns.

WITH WATER (~43%abv)
In the nose the tropical fruits recede, giving way to oakier things like barrel char, caramel candy, and toffee.  The clementine oranges are still in there.  As is a note that I can only describe as Mathilda's all natural baby wipes (some combo of cucumber/chamomile/licorice root).  The palate reads almost like a sweet and simple floral bourbon.  Lots of wood spice and caramel.  It finishes floral as well.  Also some powdered ginger, cinnamon, and char.

I reeeeeeaaaaaallllly like this batch, but until this official tasting I had never added water.  While it's acceptable whisky at 43%, it's much better when neat.

Some folks might find it to be too much on the sweet and fruity side.  Perhaps the oak gets a little loud sometimes.  And it's not the most complex thing.  But d-a-m-n do I dig it.  It smells and tastes delicious.  I wish Glenlivet hit this sweet spot more often.  And, you know, I don't really have any commentary other than that.  Recommended.

Availability - (all 16yo batches) still easily found at most specialty retailers
Pricing - (all 16yo batches) a wide range, from $60 to $90
Rating - (this batch only!)  89


  1. Besides the new ex-sherry and NAS first fill ex-bourbon cask, the new Nadurra line is also getting a peated cask edition. It's just too bad the 16 year old isn't staying.

    1. I'd be interested in trying the peated cask version, especially if they release it at full strength rather than the 48%abv of the duty free Nadurras. Hopefully I can source a sample someday.

    2. A December 2014 batch caught my eye recently because the ABV was 60.2% (and yes it's still the 16 year old version). Besides the fact that it is the strongest Nadurra I've seen, it's been a while since I've had a bottle. Might as well bite the bullet. Sadly the days of $55 Nadurra seems to be ancient history.

    3. Yeah, 1214E appears to be the last of the Nadurras with an age statement. Two other 16yo batches crossed 59% mark, but no others passed 60% like that one. Out of the 31 batches, those were the only three that were over 58% (as per Whiskybase).