I have a bit of a crush on Tullibardine of late. Not so much the younger expressions or elaborate caskings of recent times (think crazy finishes a la Glenmorangie or Bruichladdich) though some of these are also great, but more along the lines of the older, sexier Tulli’s. Perhaps this gives me a slightly skewed bias for the distillery, but if so…at least it is one that is come by honestly. Through sheer dedication to tasting as many as I can. 😉
Having now confessed a general appreciation, I concede I find it decidedly difficult to pinpoint an over-arching flavor profile from this distillery (at least from what I’ve tasted). While it is easy to explain to someone what they can expect from say, a Glenfiddich, it is much more difficult with Tullibardine. For me, anyway, and I simply refuse to cop to referencing any other writer’s opinions. I have, on the other hand, had enough solid examples from Tullibardine to know that they make good whisky. Occasionally great whisky. It’s also often the case that these malts will surprise by just how affordable they are. Yet another reason to get behind this distillery, I’d say.
This particular expression is an 18 year old, bottled at 46%, and finished in ex-Chateau Lafite casks.
Here we have a nose rich in MacIntosh toffee (Y’know the one with the tartan on the box? Can you even buy that stuff anymore?) and sweet wine. It is slightly spicy and slightly grape jam-y. It carries crunchy unripe pear and crème caramel. All in all, a decent nose, but there is something slightly off here as well. Just a minor tweak needed somewhere. Not unpleasant, but almost like a misstep in a line dance. Barely noticeable amidst all the action, but if you’re looking for it…
Now, the palate…wow. Here is where this one shines. Though the nose was pretty enough, the palate is actually quite beautiful. Sweet and drinkable…tart and tangy. Almost apple-ish. Especially in the finish. This is perfect development with no disharmony or off notes.
This is certainly not the best of the Tulli’s I’ve tasted, but it is absolutely a great example of the high standards that seem to mark this malt. If you can get your hands on it…do give it a go.
– Reviewed by: Curt
– Photo: Curt