Man oh man have I gone and done it this time! I go from a 1 ounce pour of The Glenlivet 12 year to buying a bottle of their 16 year old cask strength Scotch Whisky…without a net! That is a little like putting a dash of Tobasco on your eggs in the morning, and then deciding to take the Ghost Chili challenge at the local brew pub that night, or from taking a jog around the block to deciding you are ready to run in the New York City Marathon. But that is how we roll around here, we put our big toe in the water then head straight to the high dive and jump in!
This particular leap was one that was not just a little daunting for me. You all pretty well know my story of college binge drinking and how it totally ruined Scotch Whisky for me well into my adult years. Well, I’ve been trying in little ways (one ounce at a time) to try and find a few Scotch Whiskys that I truly like, if not love. I know it is a great drink, and with how much enthusiasm there is for the spirit here and on other blog sites I knew that it was a great drink that I had to try and find a way back into. Working with Kieth Wood over at Whisky Emporium I learned that there are several different styles of Scotch Whisky and that the style that was particularly offensive to me was one that had a fair amount of peatiness to it. However there are several Scotch Whiskys that have almost no peat in the flavor and actually have a fruitiness to them that is quite pleasing, so this summer I started trying a few.
I found that I actually loved The Glenlivet 12 year old scotch and asked what other offerings they might have. Keith told me about their cask strength whisky since I said I had only ever had 80 proof scotch whisky. Well, I saw it in the store, and the rest is …history?…
Well, not bad history like my previous experiences but to put it bluntly this was challenging, but I think in a good way. I’ve only had one dram of this Whisky, but I think I will be a firm believer by the end of this bottle.
This whisky came in a fancy box, and the bottle was wrapped in a sheath of paper that had The Glenlivet Nadurra logo on it, with a kind of fan twist at the top. Very classy, but honestly for the cost the thing could have had a gold fiber cloth bag. Pretty spendy stuff!
The Pour was a very light amber color, and almost looked like a watered down bourbon to me, but trust me there was nothing watered down about this whisky. The nose was quite a bit different than the nose on a bourbon whiskey. The first whiff was a huge alcohol nose. This is to be expected from a spirit that is 110.2 proof! Yes that is 55.1% ABV. That is reaching End of History levels, and I’m pretty sure this tasted a lot better!
As I continued to smell it notes of caramel and bunt pineapple came through too. It takes some adjustment to get those smells, but once I got past the alcohol I could smell them pretty easily.
The flavor is HUGE! And it hit me like a ton of bricks! There are 4 tiers to the flavor profile, and each is distinct and in order. It begins with a very sweet butterscotch flavor, very nice, then transitions to a very smoky barrel almost woody flavor, then ends by turning to a roasted pineapple, almost banana type flavor. It reminded me of the time my mother almost burned down the house trying to make Bananas Foster! But it was Gooooood!! The finish was warming and long in the mid chest and very appreciated, almost comforting.
I put a little water into the dram after I finished about half of it, and it really opened up nicely with the flavors intensifying somewhat, the edge was taken off of the smokiness and the finish shortened somewhat, but it was still a great drink.
The challenge for me came in at mid palate with the big smoky barrel flavor, but I’m sure I will adjust, as you can definitely tell this is a quality Scotch that I’m sure most scotch drinkers would love.
I’m actually looking forward to the rest of this bottle. I don’t think I have ever had a drink that was so distinctive and had so many layers of flavor as this did. It is truly an experience and one I would highly recommend…although perhaps with a splash of water.