Water of Life - Glenlivet
When it comes to my peers and whiskies, many like their “Glens” and adjectives like “sm00000th” are often used in combination with sliding hand gestures which seem to indicate that the drinking experience does not provide complications. I got my favourites in that section as well, however, when visiting a well-stocked hoochery, it is not necessarily the first or second port of call.
Then again “Glens” are a great dependable go-to when traveling to neither regions where bar selections look a bit bare in the whisky department.
Glenlivet is a Speyside distillery that has been on my radar for the longest time and starting with their 15-Year-Old was a great entry point as it is placed on both the affordable and more easily available spectrum of things.
Having aged in French Oak reserve, the nose is grapefruity, honeyed sweet and is shadowed by an interesting melange of darker shades comprised of chewy resinous wood and marzipan with a well-balanced acidity.
On the top of the mouth, things get interesting in the most velvety manner, with a sweet balance of warming winter time spices, i.e. cinnamon, cloves make an appearance on a solid foundation of chocolate and caramel, which is punctured by delicate bitter cherry and nutty highlights. The medium well-balanced finish accentuates floral notes mixed with white pepper, which make it reverberate nicely.
Great value for money and a very enjoyable mellow Speyside dram, which could be lifted by having a bit more of an ABV kick.
Now, enter the non-chill filtered cask strength Nàdurra range of the Glenlivet. Given its characteristics it is not wondrous that the Gaelic name is a telling one as it means “natural”.
Oh, what a glorious drop, whose subtle peatyness is derived from the final stretch of its barrel maturation being completed and rounded off with a stint in oak that previously housed peaty heavy hitters.
In essence, you get everything that makes a great Glenlivet here, yet with additional layers that add depth and dimension in terms of richness.
Bottled at cask strength, this non-age statement drop is a Glenlivet on 11, however, what tickled the nostrils is not overwhelmingly spirity. It has a bouquet that makes my hair stand up on the back of my neck as it is at times slightly reminiscent of a Laphroaig Select in terms of iodineness and martime peatyness mixed with tangy, nutted barley and coconut nuances. Enter saliva as it evokes a Pavlovian reaction.
Creamy on the palate, there are notes that could be found with the 15-Year-Old but again there is much more character in terms of robust flavours like raw peat, pears, cocoa, toasted almost and acidic pineapple emerging.
The elongated creamy finish is a tour de force meandering between chocolatey territory, citrus, peat with just the most subtle of lingering smoke.
The Nàdurra is by no means comparable to an Islay whisky, however, it never set out to be and is instead a stunning, complex feast of flavours that reigns supreme in its own league and is a real pleasure to drink.