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Single malt whisky is a real chameleon. Its maturation time will greatly affect its final character. Malt whisky can be peated to a variety of ppm levels. It can be finished (or matured entirely) in a variety of cask types; red wine, port, sherry, white wine, madeira wine, rum casks, and it can be matured in a variety of cask sizes. Malt whisky can be bottled at a wide variety of abv percentages, so long as it is at least 40% abv. Each variable affects the taste and texture of the final product. Awhile back, I asked members of a Facebook group what their favourite 100% ex-bourbon, unpeated, cask strength single malt was. I was curious to taste a "naked" single malt scotch as a basis for future comparisons. Now obviously the distillery of origin will also affect the character of the malt, but at some point, I had to make some choices. Glenlivet's Nadurra First Fill was mentioned several times. Unfortunately, this one doesn't carry an age statement, but it is 100% ex-bourbon, it is unpeated, and it is presented at cask strength without chill-filtration or added colour.
Batch FF0716, 59.1 % ABV
- Nose (undiluted): honey, oak, honeydew melon, green apples,
- Palate (undiluted): oak, floral honey, a bit of pepper, a hint of vanilla, melon
- Finish: medium length, warming, classic Glenlivet but amped up, malted barley, toffee, a hint of milk chocolate
Adding water brings forth flavours of icing sugar, hazelnuts and dried banana chips. The chocolate note is also more prominent with water added. Chocolate-covered banana chips with hazelnuts? Yes, please! This one packs a wallop, so don't be afraid to add a teaspoon of water, or more. I think I prefer it with a little water. This whisky won't necessarily excite anyone, but it is classic Glenlivet. They definitely have a "signature" profile and it is displayed perfectly here.