It does sounds like the opening like of a joke when you say ‘have
you heard about this Tullibardine whisky?’ and that’s because the spirit has not
endured the greatest of legacies. It’s not the most attractive of distilleries
squashed at the end of a small bank of retail units near a main motorway.
However things are changing with increasing sales abroad and expansion plans;
the future looks bright for Tullibardine so what about the whisky?
To be fair I’ve haven’t really experienced a Tullibardine
that I have raved about, or was greatly impressed with. I’ve taken the tour and it is an
enjoyable voyage; they are certainly trying to do their utmost when it comes
to the whisky. Given time I expect we’ll see some very interesting releases and
a continuing upward trend, as the benefits come through in the bottle. Much
like Auchentoshan I’m very benign when discussing Tullibardine; it exists but
sadly I’ve yet to be converted.
The great thing about whisky is that eventually you’ll have
to eat your words or change a steadfast opinion. For Auchentoshan that moment
of change arrived with a 21 year old that Cadenhead’s bottled a couple of years
ago - they’ve not only gone and done it again with another 21 year old from
One of the benefits of purchasing whisky via Cadenhead’s in
Edinburgh is that the staff share the same inhibitions yet when they taste a
lovely whisky and recommend it, then you know it is totally genuine and not
sales or marketing patter. This Tullibardine was released towards the end of
2014 and was well received enough by the team to make it their ‘one of the best
from 2014’ summaries. So I had to pick this one up and see if this was a
magical Tullibardine. The things I do for Whisky Rover.
Bottled: 2014 (21 years old)
Colour: a child's sand pit
Nose: lots of sweetness with creamed coconut, strawberries and those classic milk bottle gum sweeties and marzipan. A packet of wine gums followed by that familiar smell of a dunnage warehouse where time stands still and granola with plenty of nuts. A hint of rolled tobacco gives a spice depth.
Taste: an initial burst of citrus and mixed fruit juice on arrival then a distinct nose dive into a flatline of banal characteristics before a rising tide of crunch green apples and pepper to an encore of a finish.
Tullibardine may come of age at 21 years old? There's no denying the delights of this small batch bottling from Cadenheads. The experience on the palate is unusual . An initial explosion followed by a noticeable lull in flavour before a crescendo builds towards a satisfying and long finish. Very much an old school whisky nose just sets the anticipation too high for the palate but I'm far from disappointed overall; a lovely journey and all the more remarkable as it was totally unexpected.
Labels: cadenhead, review, small batch, taste, tullibardine, whisky