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Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Glenlivet 18 year old Nàdurra Triumph

I've wanted to try this whisky ever since I first saw it at a whisky bar nine years ago. It sat on shelves around the country for another three or four years at a high, but not unreasonable by today's standards, price. And it wound up in my cart a number of times before I declined to buy it. Though the Nàdurra Triumph always seemed interesting, blind buying has never a pleasurable experience for me.

So I didn't buy it.

And now I regret that.

Regarding the whisky itself: Glenlivet 18 year old 1991 Nàdurra Triumph is a single malt made from one barley strain, or varietal, Triumph, that is no longer used by Scottish distillers, possibly due to inefficient alcohol output. It was a single release, sort of before its time, and Glenlivet hasn't joined the "_____ Barley" release shuttle that has since launched. Instead they sell a lot of NAS mystery meat (named Alpha, Cipher and Code) for 150+ dollars.


Distillery: Glenlivet
Ownership: Pernod Ricard
Age: 18 years (1991-2010)
Maturation: American oak casks
Barley varietal: Triumph
Alcohol by Volume: 48%
Chillfiltered? No
Caramel Colorant? No
(from a purchased sample)

The nose is radiantly fruity. Kristen said she could smell it from across the room. There are lots of in-season apples, pineapple, guava and limes. Yes, barley. Then anise and roasted nuts. Hints of brine and vanilla bean. The palate is creamy in texture and character, with graciously minor levels of vanilla and sugar. Key lime pie, roasted barley, pineapple and a touch of herbal bitterness. The lime note expands with time. It finishes with key lime pie and lemon bars, both with extra zest, as well as a hint of fresh peach.

What a treat this was, especially next to Glenfiddich's Fire & Cane. The 48%abv felt like the optimum strength, and I refused to add water. Refused! To reproduce this whisky would be an undertaking, and possibly not that lucrative, but it would be a hell of a lot better than the majority of the official range. And it would fit nicely with some of the fruity mega-batches of the regular 18yo.

If an opportunity to try this whisky comes along, I recommend you do not pass it up, as I regret having waited so long. (Note: I wrote "try" not "buy". Recommendations for purchases are not made on this site.) Though it's not the most complex thing, the whisky is fruity and creamy without being weighed down by sugar and vanilla, which is in itself a ...... wait for it ...... triumph!

Availability - Secondary market
Pricing - ???
Rating - 88

2 comments:

  1. I actually bought a second bottle after K&L had a bunch. I was so impressed from the first bottle that I needed to buy another before they disappeared. The Triumph barley aspect isn't as noticeable as say the Bere used by Bruichladdich (which was more bread-y) but the flavor profile was quite different from normal Glenlivet. Also one more thing, many modern barley varieties are descended from the Triumph strain.

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    1. Glad you liked it too! The Bere Barley releases I've tried did have a more noticeable barley-heavy style to them than this Triumph. Or is that because of their youth compared to this one's eighteen years? I look forward to more barely varietal releases, and a few with some real age on 'em.

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