The Tasting Panel magazine

November 2015

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Page 25 of 136

november 2015  /  the tasting panel  /  25 T he Glenlivet—famed as "the single malt that started it all"—is on a roll. The Glenlivet has been a major factor in the growth of the single malt category and this unrivalled global suc- cess means it is the number one single malt Scotch whisky by volume. The Glenlivet now sells over one million cases so the distillery is being further significantly expanded to ensure future stock. As a mark of how far and how fast the distillery has grown, this follows a major upgrade in 2010—a tangible marker of The Glenlivet's stellar progress. But this would mean little to malt purists if the distillery lost touch with its roots, so hail the Nàdurra releases. While odd-sounding names may be fashionable among whisky brands, this one really means something: Nàdurra is the Gaelic for "natural," the keynote of this range. All Nàdurra whiskies are non-chill- filtered and come at natural cask strength, just as they would have when the distillery was established in 1824. All are produced and bottled in small batches using traditional 19th century methods—and you can taste the difference in the greater body, rich mouthfeel and distinctively creamy texture. Right now, U.S. consumers can choose from three permanent expres- sions carefully designed to showcase varying aspects of the spirit character: the First Fill Selection, the Oloroso Matured and the latest release, Peated Whisky Cask Finish, which launched in October. In the First Fill Selection, Glenlivet's Master Distiller Alan Winchester has highlighted with consummate skill the contribution of first fill American white oak casks—virgin barrels never previ- ously used to mature Scotch whisky, which bring notes of creamy vanilla and ripe pears to the fore (63.1%; SRP $84.99). With the Oloroso Matured style (60.7%; SRP $84.99), we get rich, distinctive dried fruits aromas, warm spices and notes of cinnamon, liquorice and chocolate typical of ex-oloroso European oak casks. But the surprise is the new arrival, the Peated Whisky Cask Finish. The name tells it all: Here the spirit has been finished in casks that have previously held a heavily peated Scotch whisky. The result: a gentle, aromatic smokiness where peat ghosts onto the palate without dominating the taste buds. Pure delight for the connoisseur at 53% and an SRP of $84.99. But, like the other Nàdurra expres- sions it packs a punch—these may be "natural" whiskies but they're heavy- weights all the same. THE GLENLIVET EXPANDS ITS PORTFOLIO WITH THE NÀDURRA RELEASES by Ian Buxton As Master Distiller at The Glenlivet, Alan Winchester brings many years of experience to the role and his reputation in the industry is second to none. THE TASTING PANEL put these questions to him. Ian Buxton: You've operated and managed many distilleries. What makes The Glenlivet stand out? Alan Winchester: The Glenlivet has always been considered one of the most famous single malt distilleries by whisky aficionados and new whisky drinkers alike, because of its renowned fruity, floral house style and its reputation for having set the standard for quality and craftsmanship in the Speyside region for almost 200 years. IB: The Glenlivet is being significantly expanded. How do you ensure the whisky won't change? AW: We at The Glenlivet are pleased to have received planning consent from the Cairngorms National Park for an expansion at The Glenlivet Distillery, as part of a feasibility project to define the scope of future operations. The project is designed to meet the demands of the future while maintaining the same quality and style of whisky as "the single malt that started it all." IB: Nàdurra Peated Whisky Cask is a big change—how do you see it carrying The Glenlivet name? AW: The Glenlivet Nàdurra Peated Whisky Cask Finish is the first whisky from The Glenlivet in a long time to have a clear peat-influenced taste profile, but it remains unmistakably The Glenlivet. The classic fruity, floral house style is balanced perfectly with aromatic, smoky notes imparted by the finish- ing process in heavily-peated Scotch whisky casks. IB: Money no object—what's your personal favorite expression of The Glenlivet? AW: My The Glenlivet of choice depends on my mood and the occa- sion; for example, I would enjoy The Glenlivet Founder's Reserve in a long drink on a summer's day, the classic The Glenlivet range with close friends over dinner and The Glenlivet Nàdurra Peated Whisky Cask Finish for when I am looking for something truly out of the ordinary. A Natural Fit ALL ABOUT ALAN Master Distiller at The Glenlivet, Alan Winchester.

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