The Glenlivet Nadurra: Jumping off the High Dive!

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.

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31 Comments on “The Glenlivet Nadurra: Jumping off the High Dive!”

  1. November 5, 2010 at 1:21 pm #

    Way to go in head first bro!

    And good to see you broadening your horizons like a big boy.

    • Don
      November 5, 2010 at 1:29 pm #

      Well it is like you when you decided to brew…Did you play it safe and brew a pale ale or some wimpy wheat beer? Hell no, you went whole hog and brewed a Bourbon Barrel Porter for your very first home brew! We Galligans have a history of making great strides and complete flops…just glad this turned out to be a stride and not a belly flop from 12 feet.

  2. November 5, 2010 at 3:11 pm #

    Scotch is good but Bourbon is preferred in this house. Gonna have to try the Nadura.

    • Don
      November 5, 2010 at 3:50 pm #

      I hear you John. I think I definitely love Bourbon Best, but it is always good to expand those horizons. And it was very good too, so it was a win,win. BTW the Chicago trip got nixed, so I will have to look you up next time I make it to the Mid West.

  3. November 5, 2010 at 3:22 pm #

    FWIW: I saw on “CBS Sunday Morning” that Steve Spielberg owns the original painting of the kid on the diving board. You may use this information at any time for prosperous wagering porpoises

    • November 5, 2010 at 3:27 pm #

      I bet you he’s right Don!

    • November 5, 2010 at 3:29 pm #

      BTW, your blog rocks, Randy.

      I mean literally. There’s music and everything.

    • Don
      November 5, 2010 at 3:52 pm #

      That is cool! Hope he doesn’t try to shut down our site because of copyright infringements! Yikes!

    • Don
      November 5, 2010 at 4:18 pm #

      Randy, I am totally diggin your site! Is that your band playing all the zepplin? You could use a singer, but good nonetheless.

      • November 5, 2010 at 11:03 pm #

        Thanks, guys

        No, Don, not mine … It’s a band called “Bustle in Your Hedgerow”

        • Don
          November 6, 2010 at 2:04 pm #

          Good instrumentals but really needs the vocal piece to tie it all together.

      • November 6, 2010 at 7:04 pm #

        I like ’em w/o a Plant-personation … We all know the words anyway, right??? Just fill in the vocals in your noggin

        Maybe dropping out the words is a Zen element??? You bring you OWN interpretation??? Make your OWN Karaoke???!!! Hmmm!!!

        This band is awesome for listening to while running or cycling; kinda like a Super-Heavy Muzak

  4. Kevin M
    November 5, 2010 at 5:19 pm #

    Ah, the Nadurra… 2 years ago we had a 2 bottle gift set at my store: the Nadurra and the 15 year French Oak. It took me awhile to drink the Nadurra, but it was enjoyable, but the French Oak was gone in a few days… or was it hours?! I can’t remember!

    • Don
      November 5, 2010 at 5:29 pm #

      I’ll have to try that as well. They had it, but I didn’t want to bankrupt myself in one trip. Perhaps if they had the same gift set it would have been cheaper?…Hmmm…

  5. November 5, 2010 at 10:39 pm #

    Man oh man, diving in head first is scary but oh so satisfying as well! I’m a new reader and enjoy the blog, bro! Pour me a belt!

    • Don
      November 6, 2010 at 2:03 pm #

      It can be Tommy. In this case I’m pretty sure it has worked out. Gonna hit it tonight!

      • November 7, 2010 at 6:09 pm #

        Hey Don, congratulations, you can’t imagine how pleased I am to see you enjoying this whisky, it’s a true great and exactly as you say; big and full of flavour (or was that flavor?). Personally I got plenty of summer fruits like apricots from this, but toasted pineapple is also an excellent descriptor.

        You never know, maybe there’s still hope of excommunicating the memories of those college exploits and making a man of you yet!

        Cheers my friend,

        • Don
          November 8, 2010 at 11:00 am #

          Thanks Keith. The Nadurra is an experience like none other. Looking forward to more exploits in the world of whisky. Now if I could just figure out how to make it cheaper… :s

  6. November 8, 2010 at 7:07 am #


    I work for The Glenlivet and helped develop Nadurra and wanted to share on piece of advice – cask strength whiskies should be diluted, they are not meant to be consumed at that strength unless you absolutely insist! I always add at least one third water when drinking a cask strength whisky and that way the full range of flavours can be fully enjoyed. Thank you for your articulate review and hope you enjoy exploring other Glenlivets

    • Don
      November 8, 2010 at 11:07 am #

      Thanks Neil. I truly enjoyed the Nadurra at cask strength, and with a bit of water. The one thing I didn’t prefer with the water was the finish wasn’t quite as long. I do enjoy that warm blanket that envolops me on a long slow burning finish, and Nadurra has it. You should be proud of your creation, it is great stuff. And thanks for dropping by, come back again. 😀

  7. November 8, 2010 at 11:18 am #

    Way to go Don! Welcome to the world of Single Malt Scotch! The Nadurra is a favorite around the fire. Definitely intense and flavorful! Looking forward to hearing about your next Single Malt adventure. Think you’ll ever go back to Islay for a wallop of peat? 🙂

    Peace Yo!

    • Don
      November 9, 2010 at 11:17 am #

      G-LO I think it will be some time before you see me around Islay! But I did like the Nadurra! Sweet and smoky, and full of fruity goodness. Very enjoyable!

      • November 9, 2010 at 2:13 pm #


        Islay is not all fire and brimstone. Bruichladdich makes some lovely unpeated whiskies. Give them a try when you get a chance.


        • Don
          November 9, 2010 at 2:20 pm #

          I’ll give the bushladder a try if I can find it. I swear some of those names! Its like they weren’t even thinking about us stupid Americans when they named their hooch!

      • EricH
        March 24, 2011 at 7:47 pm #

        Bruichladdich is actually one of the easier to remember names if you spell it as brook-laddie.

        Though to get back on topic, is the first a in Nadurra pronounced with a long a sound or the short? I’ve heard both pronunciations at least once.

        • Don
          March 25, 2011 at 9:25 am #

          Wow Eric, you are really asking the wrong guy this question. I guess It really doesn’t matter as long as you try it. The proof is in the flavor, not the name, and I’d gall it, Good.

  8. November 9, 2010 at 2:25 pm #

    Agreed! The Scottish whisky names can be quite unpronouncable. We give them nicknames when we give up on the pronunciation. Hence why Ardbeg’s Corryvreckan has been given the nickname “Kevorkian”. Let me refer you to Esquire Rule 706: The drunker you are; the easier it is to pronounce the name of a Scotch. 🙂

    • Don
      November 9, 2010 at 2:30 pm #

      I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t want to drink something named Kevorkian. Especially if it tasted like grape cool aid! YIKES!

  9. November 9, 2010 at 2:48 pm #

    Not even close Don. It’s a variation on the Ardbeg 10 (excellent stuff!) and it’s bottled at cask strength. If there were a way to do real tasting via the internet, I’d send you a sample of each. Great stuff!

  10. matt c
    March 27, 2011 at 1:58 am #

    Great insight into the Nadurra, and thanks Mr. Macdonald for adding some insider info. I am a bourbon whiskey drinker, but now that I have tasted Scotch that is not over-peaty or over-smoked, I am hooked. The Glenlivet 12 is a good, smooth drink, but the Nadurra blows it out of the water. Wow! I am just now finishing off my second bottle of Nadurra (over a period of weeks mind you), and DAMN!

    My own preference is to add 1/2 as much water and a single ice cube. I even toss my glass into the freezer for a bit to get it ice cold. Here, I am going to pull my glass out right now…

    DAMN that’s good! Like Nectar of the Gods! And while the 18 year old might have more character (I also really like the Glenmorangie 18) the Nadurra is like a slap upside the head and then a kiss with some tongue. All I can say is THANK YOU! May I have another?

    • Don
      March 28, 2011 at 9:07 am #

      Enjoy Matt! Sadly I never got a second serving of the bottle I purchased. I took it to a guy’s weekend, and well lets just say it was the hit of the trip!

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