By Father John Rayls
I have never considered myself much of a Scotch drinker, and actually once considered that I might simply be too unsophisticated to genuinely appreciate both the history and the experience of Scottish whisky. Cost was also a barrier for me when so many excellent bourbons are generally available at 2/3rds the price.
However, I now believe that has now changed forever, and maybe I may have changed forever. Enter The Glenlivet Nadurra First Fill Selection, a Speyside single malt Scotch. This is the younger brother of The Glenlivet Nadurra Oloroso 16 Year Old. There is no age listed for the First Fill Selection and we’re left guessing, but it really doesn’t matter. This is one very enjoyable whisky experience.
The Gaelic definition of Nadurra simply means “natural.” It is a no chill-filtered whisky aged in new white oak casks, done in small batches. You read that right: not first-fill ex-bourbon barrels, but new white oak barrels, just like American whiskey.
As a result, the virgin white oak exerts a powerful influence on the Scotch. This whisky is bottled at cask strength, just under 120 proof (119.74). The particular bottle covered here was from Batch No. FF0115, which was bottled in January 2015.
The aromas for this 120 proof single malt are surprisingly subtle. Take your time, and you will definitely find them. You only need to be persistent. You may detect notes of vanilla, candy/fudge, and some fresh pears. Some toffee and custard will eventually make an appearance and you may find some very subtle and quiet pine in the background. Also, surprisingly, there is very little burn from the 60% abv.
Being completely forthright, I fell in love with this scotch from the very first taste. I like consistency with my whisky and get put off when my experience is radically different depending on the environment, such as with what I’ve eaten or the cigar I’ve chosen. I’ve had several tastings and it is still just as good as the first one, and every time too.
The flavor hits almost simultaneously at the back and the front of the mouth. There is much less oak than I was expecting and much more citrus and subtle banana mixed with some vanilla which results in a near creme brûlée experience. The flavor is much more powerful and enjoyable than the nose would suggest. The finish is fairly long with the subtle tingle of the 120 proof. It is very enjoyable as a very quiet oak expresses itself reluctantly near the end.
You should absolutely try this scotch. It is an easy drinking, very enjoyable whisky.
Prices on a 750ml bottle of The Glenlivet Nadurra First Fill Selection Single Malt Scotch will generally run somewhere between $65 and $85. In my case, I was was able to snag a bottle well under that price as my intro. Did I mention I love my supplier?