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Tullibardines Tasted

by Gavin D Smith

Since acquiring the mothballed Tullibardine distillery site at Blackford in Perthshire back in 2003, the owners of Tullibardine Distillery Ltd have been prolific in their release programme, with numerous vintages and a wide range of cask finishes making an appearance.

Most recently, the Tullibardine team has been more innovative than ever, and has started to market Pure Pot Still, which is un-aged, 'new make' spirit There is currently something of a trend among distillers to offer 'new make' for sale, with Kilchoman on Islay and St George's in Norfolk both using it as a way of raising revenue and profile while waiting for their spirit to mature into legally-defined 'whisky' after three years.

Tullibardine director Douglas Ross says "People on tours of the distillery have the option of sampling 'new make' spirit, and they are usually fascinated by it, the fact it is clear and the flavour. Germans and Scandinavians, from markets where people tend to drink clear spirits, love it and always want to buy it. Our 'new make' is fruity and mellow, and very consistent."

Meanwhile, Tullibardine's ongoing cask finishing programme has seen the introduction of a Pedro Ximinez Sherry finish, a second Port Wood expression and a further bottling of a Sauternes finish.

According to manager John Black, "When we started out in 2003, rather than just offer a 1993 vintage bottling, we thought we would try out one or two cask finishes to give consumers a range of Tullibardine products, even from the same year. We did a lot of different things with 1993 spirit, and Sauternes, Moscatel and Marsala have done really well for us."

Vintage releases also continue, with 1988 and 1992 expressions hitting the shelves, and there should be lots more to look forward to from this energetic outfit in the not too distant future.

the whiskies

Tullibardine, Pure Pot Spirit (Scotland)
A sweet nose of Weetabix, digestive biscuits and freshly-sliced melon. Smooth, honeyed and richly fruity on the palate. The finish is of peaches and ginger, becoming more metallic when water is added. Very drinkable neat or with water, and a great cocktail base. 69.0% ABV, 50cl, £27.00, distillery website, specialist whisky merchants.
Tullibardine, 1993 Pedro Ximinez Sherry Wood Finish (Scotland)
Fudge, almonds, new leather and Old Spice aftershave on the nose. The texture is viscous and the palate is rich and warming, with powerful Sherry, figs, orange and cinnamon. The finish is of cereal and Caramac bars. 46.0% ABV, 70cl, £45.00, distillery website, specialist whisky merchants.
Tullibardine, 1993 Port Wood Finish (Scotland)
This 1993 whisky was ‘finished’ in port pipes for eleven months prior to bottling, and it offers a pretty, floral nose, with pink marshmallows, apples and sultanas. Full-bodied and fruity, with sweet, red wine notes, spices, berries and ripe bananas in the mouth. Medium length in the finish, with berries and spice. 46.0% ABV, 70cl, £45.00, distillery website, specialist whisky merchants.
Tullibardine, 1993 Sauternes Wood Finish (Scotland)
The latest Sauternes Finish from Tullibardine is the best to date. Sweet on the nose, very fruity, with honey and gingerbread. Full and syrupy on the palate, with mulled wine notes. The finish is medium and gingery, with lingering figs and fudge. 46.0% ABV, 70cl, £45.00, distillery website, specialist whisky merchants.
Tullibardine, Vintage 1988 (Scotland)
According to its distillers, this is “The Quincentennial malt celebrating the 500th Anniversary of King James IV’s coronation.” Fresh and citric on the nose, with some honey – reminiscent of sachets of Lemsip cold and flu remedy! Full-bodied, smooth and fruity in the mouth, with a syrupy finish in which the sweetness of white chocolate persists along with spice. 46.0% ABV, 70cl, £45.00, distillery website, specialist whisky merchants.
Tullibardine, Vintage 1992 (Scotland)
Light in colour, this bottling comprises a combination of ex-Bourbon and ex-Sherry casks. Resin, freshly-sawn timber, fudge, barley sugar and a hint of Jaffa oranges on the nose. The palate is rich and medium-dry, with dried fruits and caramel. The finish is spicy and gingery. 46.0% ABV, 70cl, £36.00, distillery website, specialist whisky merchants.

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