Posted by: Matt Browner Hamlin | December 5, 2009

Review: The Glenlivet Nadurra Triumph 1991

I’ve never been a big scotch drinker. As I’ve become more and more engaged with classic cocktails, I’ve found a number of scotch-based cocktails that I like a lot — Blood & Sand, Hong Kong, and Rob Roy immediately come to mind. But generally speaking, my exposure to scotch through cocktails involves recipes that use blended scotches as a base, or use very peaty single malts as a rinse in the glass to add to a cocktail’s nose. I haven’t spent much time exploring single malt scotches, though I’ve become a regular reader of Whisky Party and have found it to be a great source of information on scotch whisky.

Here’s the run-down of the whisky in question today:

“The Glenlivet Nàdurra Triumph 1991 is a limited-edition expression of the Nàdurra range of single malts that will be available only in the United States beginning this November. Created using a single-source grain Triumph barley it was distilled and casked in Speyside in 1991 and has been aged 18 years.  The Glenlivet Nàdurra Triumph 1991 is non-chill-filtered so the final product retains all of its natural flavors.”

The Nadurra is a light straw color. It leaves a super-thin coating on the walls of the glass — so light that I first thought there were no legs in the whisky at all. Instead it will stick high on the glass but so finely that it takes a second look to recognize it.

The nose is also light, with no noticeable peat or smokiness. Instead it smells of oak or other hard wood, alcohol, and honey.

The mouth feel is silky and smooth. It starts relatively sweet, without a huge body up front. The depth comes after the first taste, as the taste buds on the side and back-middle of the tongue are activated.

The whisky finishes with a long, slow burn. The heat is complex, with elements of pepper, cream, and an acidic element that first struck me as sherry vinegar but became harder to identify after the first couple of sips.

As someone who is only beginning to explore scotch whisky, I liked The Glenlivet Nadurra Triumph 1991 a lot. It’s lack of peat and smoke flavor makes it more accessible to me, though I think this has more in common with a single malt Irish whiskey like Red Breast than what I usually think of single malt scotches. But for me, that’s a good thing, as less-peated Irish single malts are some of my favorite sipping spirits. This may be the first single malt I’ve tasted where my reaction, at the end, was “Gee, I could use a bottle of this in my liquor cabinet.” Given that I’ve resisted taking that step for a number of years, that probably says something.

I don’t know how hard core Scotch enthusiasts are receiving this bottling. It strikes me as accessible and smooth in a way that I assume the cognoscenti might look down on. But for someone who doesn’t know much from scotch whisky like me, this is some good stuff.

Disclosure: This post was made possible because I received a free sample of The Glenlivet Nadurra Triumph 1991.



  1. It has done decently. If you are looking for something that is good sipping whisky that might appeal to your palate, but also find some uses in your mixed drinks, let me recommend Spice Tree by Compass Box. It’s got lots of spice (obviously) and subtle hints of vanilla.

    I went to a tasting at Beekman Bar and Books, and they mixed it up with sweet vermouth, negroni and chocolate bitters for an excellent cocktail. Sorry I can’t give you more info on the proportions of each.

    • Sounds pretty interesting. I’ve liked Compass Box’s Peat Monster, which is a popular one with bartenders in DC. And the Negroni modification sounds good – though I think you mean Campari for the spirit after sweet vermouth. Like I said, though, it sounds pretty great. Thanks for the tips@

  2. […] My friend Matt runs a cocktail blog down in D.C. – A Jigger of Blog.  He’s finally starting to get into scotch whisky, and here’s his first set of tasting notes: Glenlivet Nadurra Triumph. […]

  3. Consumers should be aware of the following:

    For this reason, I would give all Chivas whiskies a miss

  4. My comment posted 15th Dec @ 4:16 is still “awaiting moderation”. Could you please clarify why there has been a delay



    • Sorry, I hadn’t had a chance to hit approve. I’m a busy guy and this is a hobby, not am obligation.

  5. […] friend Matt at A Jigger of Blog really enjoys this drop as a smooth and friendly […]

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