Glenlivet Nàdurra 16 y.o. (Batch 0712U)
I cracked open this batch of Nadurra with a bunch of good friends just shy of two weeks ago. Between us, we managed to put a healthy dent in the bottle that night (along with a few others), and I’m not gonna lie…the bottom half of this one has been calling to me in the evenings ever since. I figured we should maybe get ’round to sharing some notes before there was nothing left to share notes on.
Nadurra is, quite simply, one of the most consistent and seemingly underrated malts on the market. Maybe ‘underrated’ is the wrong word. ‘Under-mentioned’, is more in line with what I’m trying to get across. While quite universally respected, it never seems to garner as many mentions as several of its contemporaries do (105, a’bunadh, etc). I’m not sure if this is due to the preconceptions associated with the rather simple and prototypical Speyside profile we generally ascribe to the name Glenlivet, or if there are other factors at play. Or maybe its simply a matter of where I’m looking and who I’m speaking to. Either way, Nadurra deserves to be held up as a shining example of well-crafted single malt whisky.
‘Nadurra’ is the Gaelic word for ‘natural’. It is a batch-released whisky served up big and bold, and is sort of a poster child for the model that, in my opinion, all distilleries should be following (age-stated, cask strength, non chill-filtered, etc). I think we’ve gone through most of this before spiel before, so let’s just get on with it. What say?
I should note, before we get into tasting notes, that I specifically remember the day I bought this bottle. I was wandering the shop with a handful of dollars burning a hole in my pocket and a view to doing a future write-up. I couldn’t really find anything that was lighting my fire, and ended up settling for this one. I recall leaving the store slightly disappointed that I hadn’t found something more exciting and unique to bring home, but there is absolutely no regret now. This is a great bottle, and one I may try to track down a second of if any are still dust-gathering around here.
Nose: Peach tarts. Freshly peeled apples. Perfume / floral notes. Toasted wood. Cinnamon. Pepper. Ginger. Slightly creamy. Utterly brilliant nose. Nothing too complex, but rings out like a beautiful harmonic.
Palate: Great delivery. Kinda peppery. Woods and apple right up front. Just a hint of peach again, but that may be olfactory carryover. Now ginger and mixed spice. A kind of ‘champagne-like’ nutty, herbal note. Tart apple skins on the finish. Somewhat drying.
Thoughts: Great right off the cork, but even better once it settles down in the glass for a few minutes. There’s a wonderful creaminess that develops over time. Great stuff. I love it when a malt I remember as being a favorite from way back still manages to knocks my socks off by now being even better than I recall. This is still a top notch malt, years on from when I first tried it. Absolutely no quality slippage here, and this particular batch is one of the best versions of Nadurra I’ve come across.
– Reviewed by: Curt
– Photo: Curt
I think the fact that this is Glenlivet and Glenlivet is so ubiquitous, the Nadurra tends to be unfairly ignored. Some people just refuse to believe that Glenlivet can be behind a really great whisky.
I have a bottle of Nadurra (batch 11/11) that I have been pecking away at for the last 18 months. I swear it gets better each time I have it. I love the Speyside Sherry caskers you mentioned, but I love this too for being something so completely different.
The recent releases of NAS Nadurra make me a little nervous for the future of the 16 year old version. Time to stock up!
LCBO lists the 16 year old as “discontinued, available while supplies last”. I have a bottle. Given all the others I have waiting, my “supplies” will “last” a long time…
In some circles Nadurra enjoys almost a cult status. Well deserved. The first one I tried was 1007D at 57.7%, and I was hooked. Batches J, M, and Collegiate’s 1111Q were consistently as good even though they were three or so percent lower in abv. My current batch is 0313W, and it deviates from Nadurra’s usual crispness. It’s still an acceptable dram but compared to others its flavors seem a bit blurry. Overcooked fruits and subdued spices. Lacks pizzazz. Not quite up to par.
Although I think it’s very good, I don’t like the 16 yr. cask strength as much as I do the now-defunct Triumph 18 at 48% – and it may be about the former’s strength seeming more “out of profile” compared to what can be argued as Glenlivet’s underpowered norm. I do agree with a couple of big points, however, the first being that Nàdurra is generally underrated/under mentioned compared to its competitors, and I find this to be the case with the distillery itself in general. While Macallan, Glenfarclas and Aberlour do have products which are, on the whole, usually better than Glenlivet’s, they aren’t of what can be described as “a magnitude better”, and this is repeatedly shown to me when I look at QPR and occasionally return to the simple Glenlivet 12 – with all its “shortcomings and limitations” – after trying a number of high-flying, heavily-hyped competitors. To me, it goes to show that, while Glenlivet is somewhat underrated, the “craft presentation” angle DOES amount to quality improvement, but it’s incremental, not the panacea quantum leap that the industry would like to present it as in its “re-conceptualization” of what whisky is/means. Particularly for entry-level expressions, one is increasingly being asked to pay significantly more, while swallowing a lot of NAS malarkey to boot, all for whiskies that still fall somewhere between 83 and 89 out of 100.
All that said, the other point I agree with is that Nàdurra IS how whisky should be presented, certainly in its forthrightness – using information instead of descriptors, facts instead of adjectives – although it is unfortunate that, with the production of the Alpha, it can’t be said to be reflective of a general Glenlivet philosophy.
Although NAS doesn’t really bother me, that’s on whiskies that have always been NAS. To take a well known whiskey with an age statement and change it to NAS is wrong to me. This is the only Glenlivet I buy, as the others don’t l to my tastes (at least at their price), but it will take a lot of good reviews to induce me into buying the new version.
Jeff, I have an unopened Triumph I’ve been holding back opening. I can pick up another at $85. Is it worth it?
I understand where you’re coming from on NAS. I’m only a little worried about what’s going to happen with pricing, particularly once NAS bottles are established as introductory expressions, and we’re paying more for age statements JUST because they HAVE age information. Hell, we’ve even got people like the controversial Joe Hyman saying things like “your collectibles of tomorrow will be the bottlings with age and vintage statements today. That stuff won’t be available in the future.”
Anyway, on the Triumph, at $85 US or about $95 Canadian, with a Wine-Searcher price of $91 Canadian, I’d probably buy an extra bottle. As a very good whisky, and an endangered species, I don’t think you could go wrong with it as a drinkable/flippable/tradeable purchase. Head-to-head, it’s a noticeable improvement on the 18 at 43%, and Triumph is the kind of thing that Glenlivet, and particularly Glenfiddich, should be doing more of: OBs with enhanced age and strength.
Recently picked up a 16YO Nadurra (3/14) and the new sherried Nadurra (6/14). I compared them HTHTH with the new Balvenie 15YO sherried and found the NAS Nadurra tastes more like a 12YO. Spirity and not impressive compared to the other two, which seemed to definitely be 15+ YO. I need to pick up a GF 105, as it reminded me more of it, but not as good. May need to sit a while and open up, though. Definitely a Glenlivit product, so some of you might like it better, but I think I’d pick up the 16 while it’s still available, as it is better and almost $10 cheaper here. Of the three, I personally prefer the Balvenie and am close to finishing off the bottle (don’t worry, I have 3 more). However, I’m partial to Balvenie.
I made the comparison on the 105 and the Nadurra Oloroso. 105 is decidedly juicier and spicier, while the Nadurra is a creamier number with chocolate notes to it. Other than that, they are close profiles I would be hard pressed to pick a favourite, although I have not been as impressed with this recent 105 I picked compared to the one I had a year and a half ago. I did the hthth with the Abunadh batch 47 and it was no contest.
I don’t even think it is fair to compare this new Nadurra to the 16yr version, as they are so vastly different. The 16yr may be better, but it is in a whole other flavour category.
I think it’s fair to compare the two Nadurra’s, as they are assuming we won’t notice when they go totally NAS. The big difference to me was not the type of casks, but the immaturity of the spirit. You can still taste the base Glenlivet spirit, but one (NAS) is significantly younger tasting. In fact saying 12 YO may be generous. I’ll let it sit for a while and see if it improves.
Also, by comparing to another sherried whisky (Balvenie 15), it was still obvious the NAS was much younger tasting.
Weird to see an NAS malt seeming young and spirity, huh? 😉
Two months in and the NAS sherried Nadurra hasn’t improved. Still spirity and has a bit of a funky flavor I find hard to describe. Dusty and cardboardy? Definitely not as good as GF 105, GD 15 Revival or Dalmore 15, which are in the same price range. Won’t buy again, but will open another bottle of the new sherried Balvenie 15, which is quite good.
Just finished off this bottle. I had only been taking a dram every two or three weeks to make it last. Excellent bourbon cask whisky! The idiot at Glenlivet that decided to make it NAS should be shot. Seriously!
Okay, I’m confused!?! We now have in our stores an 8/14 bottling of Nadurra 16. There had previously been the 10/13 and 3(?)/14, along with the 6/14 Oloroso Nadurra. We have also had the other (bourbon-barrel?) Nadurra, but it is now gone and the 8/14 showed up for $78. Lots of bottles. Should I jump on this? Anyone tried it?
I’m currently about half way through Batch 814D if that’s the same as you’re seeing. $79 here in MB. I bought it to try it before the AS versions went away and to be honest, I’ll probably try and pick up a couple more if I can before Christmas. It’s very enjoyable.
I have a 614C and an 814D. The 614 is excellent and the 814 I just bought is one of the last 11 left in BC. I think the 16 is rapidly disappearing everywhere after which we will be stuck with the two mediocre NAS offerings currently available. Pity. Stock up while you can.
Thanks for the info! I guess I’d better make a run to the store! It’s $79 here also. It looks like a big shipment, as several stores have at least 6 on the shelves.
So I’m really enjoying this whisky and have a couple of bottles stocked away already, with hopes of gathering a few more before the stock runs out and its only the NAS on the shelves. I’m a sherry head for the most part but am finding that having a pair of bottles open, one sherried, one not, is a really nice way to work down through two bottles by changing it up. To that end, I’m looking for suggestions of whisky that might be somewhat similar to the Nadurra. Any one care to assist?
Some whiskies I’ve used lately in this role would include Arran 14, Balvenie 12 SB, Clynelish 14, Compass Box Oak Cross, Glenmorangie 10 and Tusail. Although they don’t all use just bourbon barrels, their sherry influence is light and the peatiness is minimal or none. My biggest problem with these whiskies is that they are so damn drinkable I run through them rather quickly and ignore the peaty and sherries ones. Hmmmm! Maybe I should just buy them!?!
That’s a nice selection, Robert. The big difference is ABV. I can’t think of anything that comes close to Nadurra’s 55.7%. There are probably some high strength IBs that are comparable. Best bet is to bunker a few bottles of 16YO Nadurra while it’s still around.
Amrut Cask strength would be an option. It is essentially bourbon-matured. I haven’t had Nadurra in a few years but I think I would prefer the Amrut…
And if Age is an issue (though the CS does have an age, we just don’t know what it is), try a Amrut single cask (Bourbon cask), which will carry an age.
So I suspect that if you look hard enough, there will always be something good around.
Unfortunately I kind of agree. Nadurra is quite singular. Easy drinker with a big flavour and broad ‘anytime’ sort of appeal. If you want a mature balanced dram at cask strength, this is it. Seeing this disappear will be a shame.
Otherwise…as Chris 1 says…independents are a good bet. Scored a lovely 22 year old Strathmill (A.D. Rattray) here a short while back for under $100 (!!!!). It says ‘sherry butt’ on the label, but man…that must have been the most dead barrel ever. Even looks like a light bourbon colour.
And Amrut malts ARE indeed great.
Thank you all for the recommendations. I have a 12 year old cask strength Arran lying around somewhere, I wonder if it fits? Part of the difficulty is in the lousy local selection. No Compass Box, no Arran, no Amrut. Do have the Clynelish 14 though, so maybe that. It’s $10 more though. Independents? Only in my dreams. Not a reflection of the suggestion, just the crap selection locally (MB).
I’m going to try and stock up on the Nadurra 16 while I can, but the budget is limited to a bottle or two a month and I’m not certain how long it will last as the stock dwindles. There are 17 bottles left in the city and five about two hours west but I won’t be out there until April.
As for easy drinking, yeah, this one falls into my category of breakfast whisky – so easy to drink I’m sometimes tempted to have it first thing in the morning. That’s not a bad sign, is it?
Not sure I can advocate for drinking first thing in the am….
But I recently tried a SMWS bottling of 12 YO Arran CS. I don’t know if it is typical of Arran because it’s the only one I ever had, but it is nothing like Nadurra. Amazing lemony effervescence, I liked it, but not the same as Nadurra.
Well I’ve managed to corral four sealed bottles of this to go with my open bottle. That’s about all I can manage for now $$ wise. Not much left locally but hoping it can hold on in some rural centres so I can maybe snag another bottle or two next month. Sure is a nice counterpoint to the sherried whisky I’m usually consuming.
Probably the last update I can make on this one. There are only two bottles left in the province now and while I’m sorely tempted to pick them up I just can’t manage it at this point in time. Largely because I bought three bottles earlier this week. They were located in a town four hours away and thankfully they’ll move stuff readily within the system. I asked for two but when I went to pick them up they had brought all three down from the rural store as I guess they didn’t expect them to sell.
So with the three added this week that brings my total up to eight sealed bottles. Would like to add those other two and will do so if they last into June. Heading to Calgary this weekend for the kid’s volleyball tournament so hoping to stock up on Glendronach a bit more.
I swore I wouldn’t buy any more, but I opened my last Nadurra 16 (a 10/13) a few days ago and compared it to the Oak Cross I’ve been regularly drinking. Although I really, really, really like the Oak Cross, the 16 was an obviously more mature, more complex, more rounded dram. I shared a bit with two friends who thought it was also really special, so I realized I had to go find some more. I found five at a store for $76 each and grabbed three (5/12, 11/12 and 10/13), along with another Oak Cross. Now I know my dilemma will be whether to drink them or set them back for 10 years. This seems a whisky that will be fantastic with 10+ years sitting in cool, dark storage. Damn your eyes, Glenlivet!!!!
There are still two bottles left in Manitoba that haven’t sold since I purchased my last three. I’m seriously contemplating getting those brought in as well, given it’s nearly a month later and there really isn’t anything in store I want to purchase.
It’s not as spectacular as many, so gets good ratings, but not great ratings. But when I’m not interested in a peated or sherried whisky, I reach for this or CB OC or Glenmo 10, depending on what I have open and how cheap I want to go ($75, $42 or $30). It is just really good whisky that always satifies. I especially love just sniffing it.
How would it compare to, say, an Amrut Cask Strength? Flavour wise…
I’ve never had Amrut as we don’t get it where I live. We, as whisky drinkers, tend to ignore these more subtle beauties, preferring the bolder flavors of the peated and sherried ones. It’s a shame, as we are losing a very good bourbon barrel whisky that is being replaced with significantly younger whisky with more alcohol burn and a higher price. Hopefully they will bring it back in a few years when stocks are replenished by the decline in scotch sales.
I agree, I tend to gravitate towards flavour bombs, so peat monsters and CS sherry expressions are common in my cabinet. But a cask strength bourbon-matured like this one, or, as Skeptic says, Amrut Cask strength (or the single cask gems) can also be full-flavoured. I have a bottle, and I hope to open it to compare to a 16 YO Nàdurra that has been reintroduced to the market in say….20 years?
Wow! Twenty years may be beyond my expected lifespan. In fact, I’ve decided to start opening my stashed whiskies as I’ve decided hanging on to them may just mean leaving them for my kids to pour into their colas. I’m currently looking at popping the cork on my Supernova 2014 or Ardbog. Haven’t decided yet, but will do at least one. May also open my Nadurra Triumph as well to compare to the Nadurra 16 I have been enjoying.
I have a couple of 16s bunkered, but I hear the Triumph was killer. Wish I had one. Enjoy.
I decided to open the last Auriverdes, as I needed another peater. Still as I remember, better than 10, but not as good as Corryvrecken. Favorite dram right now is Oak Cross. Had it on the rocks yesterday and it was really pleasant, as it’s hotter than hell now here. Takes well to ice.
New Nadurra review coming soon. Batch 0814D.