Happy New Year, everybody! My first review of 2016 is a bit of a follow up to my final review of 2015. In my last review, I mentioned that I have not yet found a better Aberlour than the A’Bunadh, but it is a bit out of my price range and hard to find here in Pennsylvania. But, what if I found a cask strength, Oloroso-matured single malt that could operate as a substitute? So, without further ado, here is my review of some Oloroso-matured whisky from The Glenlivet.
Traditionally, the Nàdurra lineup has been comprised of cask strength whiskies matured in (often first-fill, but occasionally refill) bourbon casks. However, The Glenlivet has recently different takes on their Nàdurra lineup over the last few years, and I am reviewing one such batch today. This review is of batch OL0614 (the final four digits are the bottling month/year), which is aged entirely in Oloroso casks and bottled without chill filtration. There is no age statement on this whisky, and comes in at a lovely 121.4 proof (60.7% abv).
This is a rich, amber mahogany. The nose smells of Oloroso sherry, with macerated grapes, blackberry jam, and a slight hint of ginger and allspice. On the whole, it is a sweet, pleasing nose. The palate is medium-bodied, perhaps a little lighter on the entry than I was expecting. There are notes of sweet sherry, gingerbread, and drying oak present. It is a pleasing palate, although not an especially complex one. The finish is long and warming, with a wonderful puff of spiced pecans, along with sherry, mahogany, and gingerbread cookies. Water brings out a more intense sherried nose, and a more jammy, sticky palate. The finish doesn’t quite have the potency it does at cask strength, though.
Overall, this is a nice, simple sherried single malt. It doesn’t have the depth, complexity, or intensity of some other sherried whiskies, but it is a great inculcation of the style. To be honest, there is just something missing here; I can’t put my finger on it, but this whisky just does not whisk me away to a magical land. It is good, for sure, but it does not live up to the Aberlour A’Bunadh for me. That said, if you’re looking for an introduction to a cask strength, sherried whisky, this is a very good start. My grade: B+/B. Price: $60-70/750ml. For a whisky at this strength, this is a good value buy to keep around your cabinet this winter.