Coming back from a most excellent visit to the Scottish island of Orkney, I picked up this new Glenlivet travel-only bottling (for now) at Edinburgh airport. I am a fan of the ex-bourbon matured version of the Nàdurra, and was curious to see what direction the distillery had chosen with this new variant (which will become a standard part of the range, I am told).
The Glenlivet Nàdurra Oloroso Matured 48% Bottled in March 2014 (batch OL0314) First fill oloroso sherry casks
Let’s get the nitpicking out of the way first. This is not cask strength, which is a pity. It also has no age statement (whereas the normal Nàdurra is 16 years old). Now, NAS does not have to be a problem (I still think the best example of this is the excellent Glendronach Cask Strength, which incidentally I used as a comparison for this review), but it does fill me with some trepidation.
With full speed and not expectations into the nose then, with a first impression of modern, very clean sherry. Definitely oloroso, but the light, sweet and juicy fruit variant, not the dried fruit and chocolate. There’s citrus in there, with lemon and orange, as well as pear. After a little time, some nutty notes appear, along with vanilla and coconut. The nose lingers on in mild, soft fruits and milk chocolate (more milk than chocolate). After a long while, a sour note appears. Very clean, very balanced, all of this.
The taste is soft, comforting. It opens on nuts (hazelnut, chestnut), orange peel and aniseed. There is a mellow spiciness here which I attribute to american oak. A few sips in a drying, tannic note appears, as well as sultana raisins and mint. The finish lingers for quite a long time, now finally showing off the oloroso raisins in a dressing of laurel leaf.
Overall I find this extremely pleasant. This is Glenlivet with a touch of sherry, rather than the other way around. The sherry is used as an enhancement to the flavour rather than the dominant flavour in and of itself. I find this expression to be very well put together. However, it also tastes quite a bit younger than the normal Nàdurra’s 16 years, which is apparent most in a limited complexity, not so in the wonderful smoothness. In summary: high marks for balance, low marks for complexity. That equates out to a respectable 85 points
I’ve heard rumors that following batches will be at cask strength, which is a great thing as the mellow spirit could easily take the extra power without becoming harsh.