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Hi, this is one of our (almost) daily tastings. Santé!

May 15, 2013


Two Tullibardine and no finishing

Tullibardine was probably a little understated in recent years and I have to say that some older bottlings haven’t really convinced me, either the spirit was a little unlikely (feinty/dirty and soapy at the same time, which takes the biscuit, ha ha), or the wood/wine influence was too strong. Having said that, I’ve heard that things have much improved in very recent times, so this is a good occasion to have another go at the distillery, with two brand new official expressions. There are also new wine-finished NAS bottlings – you know, Sauternes, Bourgogne and such - but I think we’ll manage to avoid them. Hurray!

Tullibardine 'Sovereign' (43%, OB, +/-2013)

Tullibardine 'Sovereign' (43%, OB, +/-2013) Two stars and a half Another new no-age-statement malt whisky, from first fill bourbon, apparently. Don’t we expect young age and bags and bags of vanilla? Colour: straw. Nose: bags and bags and vanilla (well, it’s no vanilla bomb, don’t get me wrong), on a soft and unexpectedly clean malty base. The use of first fill American oak worked pretty well, there’s no excessive coconut or ginger and there are even pleasant touches of rocks and wool under the rain. Also freshly broken branches. Mouth: no weakness at 43%, notes of both overripe and fresh apples, some cider, a little ginger, maybe cardamom and cinnamon (typical freshish oak), quite some pear eau-de-vie, barley water and sugar and then more bitter herbs, probably from the oak again. Finish: rather long, on walnuts and raw malt, with cinnamon in the aftertaste. The oak speaking. Comments: the older official no-vintage – and sometimes vintage - Tullibardines used to gather scores ranging from 60 to 70 in my book. This is another world, although we’ll probably have to try the older ones to find… err, more sovereignty. SGP:441 - 78 points.

Tullibardine 20 yo (43%, OB, +/-2013)

Tullibardine 20 yo (43%, OB, +/-2013) Three stars Also from first fill bourbon casks, it seems. Colour: gold. Nose: the ‘American’ vanilla is obviously more intense than in the Sovereign but the maltiness in the background is big enough not to make this baby smell bourbony, it isn’t at all. We’re rather on leaves, white chocolate, tobacco, fresh almonds and walnuts, grass and just a wee dirtiness (notes of fermentation, beer, yeast) that goes quite well in this context. Adds bigness. Also touches of coconut oil this time, as well as ‘yellow’ flowers such as dandelions. Mouth: this is different. Less clean, young and classic than the Sovereign, it’s got these slightly unlikely notes that used to be found in old bottlings. A wee feeling of burnt plastic and stout for a while, but then there’s more honey and chocolate, together with ginger, bitter oranges and a slight Chartreuse-y feeling. A little walnut liqueur too, I quite like this palate, it’s got some personality despite the use of first fill casks. Finish: rather long, with an oiliness and more ginger. Comments: I think it’s a very encouraging bottling. Nothing to do with the unlikely older versions. SGP:461 - 80 points.

More tasting notes Check the index of all Tullibardine I've tasted so far







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