It’s time for a Glenlivet showdown! In the blue corner…The Glenlivet Guardians’ Chapter Single Malt, while in the red corner we have The Glenlivet Nàdurra First Fill Cask Strength Single Malt (Batch No. FF0115). Let’s get ready to rummmmmmble!
Whisky #439: The Glenlivet Guardians’ Chapter Single Malt. Speyside, Scotland. ABV: 48.7%. Tasted at home, $100 (bottle).
Colour: Deep caramel.
Nose: Almost a bit tannic – like nosing a gutsy, yet dry red wine. Fresh and grassy with some mildly astringent alcohol vapours that give the nose a bit of a prickle.
Palate: Very direct – a burst of concentrated dried apricots down the centre of the tongue along with some peppery spice. Not the oily, creamy mouthfeel typically associated with many sherry influenced whiskies.
Finish: A drying, sherried finish. Some slightly bitter citrus flavours (think blood oranges) along with dry woody notes. A medium to long finish.
Whisky #440: The Glenlivet Nàdurra First Fill Cask Strength Single Malt (Batch No. FF0115). Speyside, Scotland. ABV: 59.8%. Tasted at home, $130 (bottle).
Colour: Pale gold.
Nose: Honey and sweet biscuity notes. Fresh pinecones.
Palate: Tangy and zesty; salty yet a sweetness too. Like sucking on a lemon sherbet sweet. Rich and warming, this is a whisky you can really sip and savour.
Finish: Long – this one hangs around for a while. A warm citrus buzz on the front half of the tongue.
Overall comments: The Guardians’ Chapter was a limited release of only around 2,000 cases. It was selected by The Glenlivet Guardians…basically their registered fan base. Aged in American oak and former Oloroso sherry casks, Glenlivet sent the Guardians three sample whiskies to choose their preferred one for bottling. This is their choice.
The Glenlivet have always made some fantastic whiskies, and the Nàdurra First Fill Cask Strength Single Malt is certainly up there as one of the better ones I’ve tried. However, the Guardians’ Chapter Single Malt was a little disappointing – it’s not that it’s a poor whisky, far from it – it’s just that next to the Nàdurra First Fill Cask Strength it gets left in the shade. I’m always partial to a cask strength dram and the Nàdurra First Fill ticks all the boxes – bucketloads of flavour, full mouthfeel, great balance and complexity, not to mention the satisfying warmth and buzz that come from a high ABV whisky. It just feels like a much “cleaner” dram than the Guardians’ Chapter which was a little thin and tannic for my tastes.
I know which one I’ll be grabbing next time…though given the rate at which the Nàdurra First Fill seems to be emptying itself, that may be sooner rather than later!