Tullibardine Distillery Bottlings Tasting Notes

Posted: September 23, 2011 in Scotch Whisky H-Z, Tullibardine, Uncategorized

Tullibardine Pure Pot Still Spirit 69%

New Make/ Tasted: Dec 2010

The nose is quite sweet and oily and surprisingly un-industrial. Not the cleanest new make I’ve ever encountered but pleasantly peppery with hints of developing Turkish delight. The palate is much  the same as the nose. Quite smooth and sweet, actually it becomes very cereal-sweet but the high alcohol keeps it in check.

With water a pleasant floral note appears but a slight soapiness does as well. It however does seem a tad cleaner and although the finish is a tad confected, I was very impressed.

Tullibardine Aged Oak Edition 40%

Tasted: May 2010

The paleness of the colour gives a marker to its age – young. Probably newly distilled (post 2003) as it has a controlled rustic rose petal marc character. Quite candied with a lot of white pepper and oily cereal notes.

Clean, slightly oily with a more grappa than marc like character. There’s some pepper and old wood notes on the middle but the grappa notes see it off quite quickly. Pleasant, clean and simple. Good spirit which just needs time and good wood.

Tullibardine Sovereign 42%

First Fill American oak

Tasted: May 2014

The nose is heavily laden with fragrant American oak. Slightly spicy and industrial with a touch of manure. The sweet barley off sets the light industrial character and with time hints of citrus, straw, reeds and white fruit appear.

The palate opens with a big hit of American oak. Soft and creamy with a light white chocolate note. There’s a good complexity of barley flavours, some fresh, some a little husky with that dried barley character. A light industrial note and some hard honey appear on the middle, but the oak makes it very mouth-filling. Good spicy finish with plenty of herbal, almost new oak notes and a little citrus.

Tullibardine ‘The Murray’ 2004 (12 year old) 57.8%

Tasted: Oct 2016

Nose: Now, that’s an odd nose! Very perfumed white fruit, rose petals, raspberry mousse and celery. Even the oak has a perfumed sheen but with water a little edgy barley note appears.

Palate: Very sweet and barley’d. Again heavy on the perfumed rose petals, raspberry’s in syrup and vanilla oak. The alcohol is sort of keeping it in check and when diluted it becomes too sweet.

Finish: Medium length with peppery rose petal notes lingering. Water brings out the bitter oak.

Conclusion: It’s Auchentoshan on steroids!

Tullibardine 1993 (15 year old) 40%

Tasted: May 2010

An oily marzipan nose, reminiscent of playdough. Some subtle candied sweet notes and marc like rose petalsarise, followed by some natural vanilla-caramel and barley. Actually the barley is pretty oily and there’s some late straw and lemon.

The palate mirrors the nose, just adding a touch of late spice and a slightly hot finish (probably why it wasn’t bottled at 46%). All in all nowhere nearas awful as the last time I tasted it, maybe it’s a different batch. Pleasant but ultimately unexciting.

Tullibardine 1993 (15 year old) ‘Moscatel Finish’ 46%

Tasted: Dec 2008

Aromas of bung cloth and old hessian sack greet the nose. It’s brash and somewhat charmless with hints of mature honey. A raw beastie! The palate is much like the nose and there is so much tannin it’s like sucking on wood splinters. Finishes with hints of manure and rose petal. Not pleasant and one just had to spit!

Tullibardine 1993 (15 year old) ‘Sauternes Finish’ 46%

Tasted: Dec 2008

Aromas of wool fat and lanolin with a touch of earth, dirty marc-like rose petals and honey. The honey is its only redeeming feature but it still reminds me of paint stripper! The palate is flat, earthy, and cloyingly sweet with lanolin notes. The cloying sweetness is punctuated by its harsh tannins. Messy and stinky, but not in a pleasant way!

Tullibardine 1993 (15 year old) Sauternes Finish 46%

Tasted: May 2010

A monstrously huge nose. Very sweet, but avoids being sickly. Could be quite easily mistaken for a sherry finish. Pretty complex stuff, there’s a lot going on here! Lovely maturity with hints of hessian, coffee, burnt raisins, roasted nuts, and malty-chocolate. Struth it’s getting bigger and more honeyed! There’s so much of the damn stuff you’ll need a knife to cut it! The good thing is that the alcohol controls the sweetness adroitly. Ok it still has a bit on an industrial edge to it but – a you know what I really like this!

Dry, dusty and initially quite tannic to begin with. There is a lot of wood and grape here –armagnac-esque dried fruit by the bucketful, earthy honey, over ripe apricots seeped in honey and white chocolate. Yes it’s intense and woody and the finish is pretty much all grape but there’s just so much honey it’s frightening, and it’s definitely more polished than I remember. Lovely length even though the tannins win out in the end. I still like it!

Tullibardine 1993 (15 year old) ‘Sherry Finish’ 46%

Tasted: Dec 2008

Overpowering aromas of Oloroso Sherry. Again there is that hessian note, yet it is mitigated somewhat by the mature honey. You could say the Sherry masks the distillery character, and on the evidence of this tasting that is not a bad thing. However after awhile the wool fataroma become evident. The palate is a bit sticky-sweet and confected. The honey flavoursare quiet dirty and there is a huge amount of dry tannins. All told it has a complete and utter lack of elegance.

Tullibardine 1993 (15 year old) Oloroso Finish 46%

Tasted: May 2010

Polished, rich, un-leafy, rich oloroso. Seems quiet mature with dried fruit, honey, coffee and walnuts. The honey rubbles on unabated and it’s a dead ringer for a honeyed old Spey. All pretty well integrated, there’s the ever present industrial distillery character and some oily lanolin notes and even a perfumed top note! Again a definite improvement on last time.

Like the nose it’s polished but strangely seems younger. It opens with marc like notes followed by the grape, mature honey and a serious amount of tannin. The middle has an intensity of sherried salted green nuts and light coffee, almost manzanilla in style I’d say. It’s pretty much all cask, even the distillery character struggles to come through it. Very long with coffee liqueur and hazelnut notes amid the omnipresent tannins!

Tullibardine 1993 (15 year old) ‘Port Finish’ 46%

Tasted: Dec 2008

Stinky, hessian, wool fat this time with added red wine notes. It’s crude and rude on the palate – flavours as above! Possibly the worst of all their wood finishes.

Tullibardine 1988 (20 year old) 46%

A marriage of approximately 50/50 1st fill Bourbon Casks & Sherry Hogsheads

Tasted: May 2010

Again slightly oily but there is some seriously aged honey coming into play. Surprisingly that marc like note is still present and it is still a but candied. However when the serious old Glenrothes style honey kicks in its much better. Time has teased out some almost exotic orange fruit and it’s ably supported by a touch of light malt and grippy oak.

Soft and lightly honeyed on the palate. Slightly early and displaying a lovely maturity. The marc note is noticeable in the background. A short but pleasant burst of alcohol on the middle cleans the palate and leaves a very peppery finish. I have to say that it’s still a bit industrial and hard but the honey sort of cloaks it. Not unpleasant but you’d have to like this style.

Tullibardine 1993 (18 year old) John Black Edition No6 55.1%

Bourbon Cask 10002/ Dist: 1993 Btl: 2011/ Tasted: May 2012

The nose is quite deep and honeyed, slightly gristy with some lovely sawdusty American oak. The oak is rather dense and softly spiced. The distillery character comes through with some slightly high toned herbal green fruit note. Very impressive with plenty of rich, sweet honey to balance.

The palate is quite dry with the herbal green fruits showing first. It’s leaner and a touch more industrial than the nose would suggest. The lovely honey is hidden by the alcohol, which masks the finish somewhat. There is a lovely, softly spiced after-taste though.

With water the nose becomes fudgier and a lot more oilier, which mute the nose and make it a lot less expressive. Like wise the palate is stripped of that lovely honey and one is left with the classic old marc/ Turkish delight character. It certainly surprised me how much dilution changed it.

Tullibardine 25 year old 43%

Sherry/ Tasted: Feb 2014

A pungent nose of mature Oloroso sherry, crystallised orange peel and chunky sherry spices. When it settles down a touch of perfumed rose water, tea leaves, tobacco and rose soap can be detected. This is a very curious nose with a distinct aroma of over stewed, wet, tannic green tea.

The palate opens with some gentle, extremely mature sherry, citrus, liquorice and spice. The perfumed rose water note from the nose builds and that cold tea note comes through quite strongly. Dusty and slightly vegetal with the rose water being extremely perfumed and dominating the finish. All in all it’s a very odd and unique combination of flavours.

Tullibardine 1970 (46 year old) 40.5%

Tasted: Sept 2016

Nose: Reeks of age. Elegant, malty, herbal and sweet with violet tinged incense and Armagnac-esque dried prune, gape, fig and walnuts. A lovely, creamy vanilla note balances and hints of milk chocolate and green tea appear.

Palate: Very complex with mature malt, sherry and subtly sweet dates, plum and prune. Again it has an old Armagnac demeanour but the citrus adds a balancing freshness and hints of creamy vanilla come through on the middle.

Finish: Long, majestic and gorgeously spiced (both sweet and dry) with lingering vanilla and cigar/tea leaves.

Conclusion: Sublimely balanced and mature. Just how a sherry cask should be – left alone for a few decades to gain some secondary character!


Tullibardine No Age Statement Sauternes Finish 46%

Bourbonfollowed by 12 months in ex-Sauternes Barriques/ Tasted: May 2012

The finishing cask on the nose is very, very subtle, which allows the high toned, herbal greengauge, green banana skin and slightly grassy character to float above the dense honey sweet Sauternes cask. Slightly spicy and slightly edgy with the distillery character balanced by the finishing casks. Very pleasant.

The palate opens with the Sauternes sweetness showing first along with some slightly creamy, light coffee and earth notes. The oils and distillery character build and it becomes quite herbal and piquant on the middle, although just like the nose the sweetness of the Sauternes cask keeps it well balanced. A lovely mouth-watering spicy finish with a touch of marc. Very clean and very expressive.

Tullibardine No Age Statement Coume del Mas Banyuls finish 46%

Bourbon followed by almost 12 months in fortified Grenache casks/ Tasted: May 2012

A dense and slightly leafy nose of soft red fruits, rose and spice. The distillery character (herbal green fruit) emerges, and just like the Sauternes finish it’s very well balanced. With time the finish gives it a kind of red berry conserve like character which is very appealing.

The palate opens with pure, pithy, strawberry and raspberry, yet there is some rich, slightly chocolatey malt beneath. Very clean with distillery character coming through on the middle. The finish is spicy and slightly tannic but the sweet conserve/ jelly character does it’s best to balance, however the oak does bitter the finish, but not unpleasantly so. All in all another well balanced wine finished whisky.

Tullibardine No Age Statement Sherry Finish 46%

Bourbon followed by 12 months in Oloroso and Pedro Ximinez casks/ Tasted: May 2012

The nose has plenty of that oily, decaying rose petal marc character along with hints of boiled sweets. There is a touch of coffee and oily spice but the sherry is so subtle it’s practically nonexistent!

The palate mirrors the nose and is rather industrial, but considerably more elegant than the previous sherry finished release. A rather short and alcoholic finish and to be honest lacking in sherry character to balance the distillery character.

Tullibardine No Age Port Finish 46%

Bourbon – Port/ Tasted: May 2012

The nose is initially a tad muted, but does display some very spicy red fruit along with hints of straw,Assamtea and distillery character. Like the sherry finish a huge improvement on the previous release, but somewhat lacking focus.

The palate is soft and winey with unsweetened red fruit jelly and hints of old straw. Some off-sweet barley lurks beneath and the alcohol comes through with a peppery blast on the middle. Again a bit short and industrial with the oak bittering the finish quite a bit.

Tullibardine 228 (Burgundy Finish) 43%

Bourbon/ ex Chateau de Chassagne Montrachet casks

Tasted: Dec 2013

The nose displays the earthy and lightly manurey Tulli character along with plenty of sweet vanilla, winey red fruit and pepper.

The palate is quite fresh and granity, opening with the sweet red berry fruits along with a smidge of industrial manure and earth. Some light American oak notes appear on the middle before the wine returns. Good length with a little bitter, dark chocolate tannins on the finish.

Tullibardine 500 (Sherry Finish) 43%

Tasted: Feb 2015

Slightly industrial but a light dried fruit note balances. Hints of barley and marzipan follow.

The palate is again lightly industrial with some hard barley and spice. Hints of pepper and violet tinted, floral sherry follow. Quite a dry, granity finish with a herbal after-taste


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