This month Charles reviews The Glenlivet, Nàdurra First Fill Selection, exclusive to travel retail.
The release of a new Nàdurra is always a matter for celebration. Last year's was drawn from Spanish oak ex-sherry casks; this year's follows the earlier batches in being drawn from first fill American white oak ex-bourbon casks.
The distinguishing factor in the range is that each batch is small. I have been unable to find out just how many casks went into this expression, but they are all ‘first fill’ – they have never before been used to mature Scotch whisky. As a result the casks are very ‘active’: they impart an unusually high level of the flavours associated with American white oak – particularly vanilla and coconut.As the brand became more widely available it won several highly prestigious awards, including a double gold at the 2011 San Francisco World Spirits Competition, gold medals at the 2011 and 2012 International Wine & Spirits Awards and silver medals at the 2011 and 2012 International Spirits Challenge.
The whisky is bottled at the higher strength of 48%ABV, which allows Alan Winchester, The Glenlivet’s Master Distiller, to bottle it without chill-filtration. This is important. Chill-filtration is a process which removes compounds in the spirit – technically they are called ‘lipids’ or ‘long-chain fatty esters’ – which precipitate when water is added, causing the liquid to go slightly hazy. Some consumers are perturbed by this – but not connoisseurs, who know that these compounds are mighty contributors to texture - mouth-feel – and to overall flavour. These benefits are very apparent in the overall flavour profile of this delicious malt, which may go slightly hazy when you add water or ice.
Single Speyside Malt Whisky @ 48%Vol
Tawny gold. A gentle nose, with a base of almond paste and creamy vanilla, and a fruity top note (tinned pears, tinned fruit salad with cherries). Traces of fruity boiled sweets. Water softens the aroma and enhances Speyside pear-drop notes. The texture is velvet smooth and mouth-filling. Very sweet, even for The Glenlivet, with traces of fresh pineapple lending some citric acidity; a minty/mouth-cooling effect, especially in the aftertaste, and a medium length, warming finish. Water increases the sweetness and introduces a spicy brilliance across the tongue.