My first cask-strength whisky that I bought and I drank. Cask-strength whiskies are a different monster altogether. Most cask-strength whiskies are bottled over 50% abv and the Glenlivet Nadurra 16 is no exception.
I remembered asking my friend to help me get it at Changi DFS on his way back from a trip a year ago. It was quite value for money(around $70+ at that time) and I was looking for a higher abv whisky because I was curious to whether it would just kill my taste buds or might it actually taste good.
I revisited this whisky today after a few months break and I’m glad to say that it still packed a punch similar to when I had my very first sip.
Aged 16 years in first-fill ex-bourbon cask and bottled at natural cask strength, meaning no water was added to the whisky to dilute it, the Nadurra (natural in Gaelic) is truly a taste to behold. My bottle was also peppered with little snippets of information such as Batch No. 0712U, bottled at 55.5% abv on 07/12. Apart from the decent packaging, the whisky bottle itself came hand-wrapped in a nice waxed-paper with the George & J.G.Smith Logo.
It is also non-chill filtered, allowing the whisky to retain a fuller body and richer texture by retaining more natural oils from the casks. Normally, whiskies are chill-filtered to prevent them from turning cloudy under low temperatures or when ice is added. Should you want to experiment, place a small glass of Nadurra in the fridge and you will see what I mean.
Now for the tasting.
Colour: Rich golden honey
Nose: The first whiff brings a distinctive note of oak and vanilla that is reminiscence of bourbon. Really sweet and strong alcohol. Follows with a floral and nutty aroma with a slight hint of apples.
Palate: Upfront vanilla and butterscotch, really chewy and luscious if that can be a word to describe whisky. Moves on to a malty-cereal backbone and finally a burst of tangy green fruits. Pears and green apples.
Finish: Long long finish, at first bitter almond, oak and strong hazelnut. After 3 minutes, the bitterness dissipated and eased onto macadamia, especially when I moved my tongue around my mouth (not kidding here). At the 5 minute mark, something odd. I started tasting raisins.
A truly exceptional dram, unforgettable. If this has to be your first cask-strength whisky, I’d say go for it, all out. The Nadurra is also bottled at a lower 48% abv and sold at Changi DFS for those who prefer something lighter. But why bother when the real deal is right here.