Tullibardine proudly display the date of 1488 on the front of their bottles. “1488!!! That’s extremely early for a Scottish whisky distillery”, I can hear you cry. Well, all becomes clear when you know a bit of the background to this distillery.
1488 is in fact the date when records show a brewery was operational at the same location. Whisky distillation would come much later. In 1798 it was first attempted rather unsuccessfully at the site. It was rather stop start in those early days and the distillery as we know it today opened as late as 1947.
They closed down again in 1994 and lay silent until the distillery was revived in 2003. This 15 year old is at the time of writing, the oldest official bottling that Tullibardine have released with spirit produced since they re-opened.
The packaging is really nice. The design looks elegant and the cardboard used is solid. The bottle is held inside by plastic clips and there are two doors at the front with a fancy closing, where the front label goes inside the rectangular opening from the other side of the closing doors. Ofcourse, the most important thing is the contents of the bottle, but as long as we don’t have to pay a premium for the box I am all for it.
Anyway, let’s get on with the nosing and tasting.
Nose : A light, bright and sweet honeyed floral meadow. Marmalade orange, peach, mango and crème caramel. The aromas certainly come forward with more time in the glass and a very small drop of water. After around half an hour or so the florals are more noticeable and most certainly the orange. A very good start.
Palate : Sweet initially and then turning bitter and spicy with some chili pepper and a good hit of salt. Creamy vanilla, orange and lemon is certainly there, much like it was on the nose. The flavours unfortunately seem to disappear rather quickly, leaving a rather short, bitter and salty finish.
Conclusions : There is a lovely complexity to the nose, but unfortunately it doesn’t translate to the palate and the experience is over rather quickly.
It is a nice, light malt and a great start to any evening of whisky tasting, or if you just fancy something a little more straightforward. For a 15 year old single malt it is priced well at around the £50 mark in the UK.
It is a little disappointing they have decided to bottle at only 43% and there is no indication as to whether it has been chill filtered or if colour has been added. There was certainly no scotch mist with the addition of water, so the only conclusion we can come to is that it has been chill filtered. If it hasn’t, then say it loud and proud on the label!
Score : 6/10
Three word review : Light. Creamy. Fruity.
ABV : 43%
Non-chill filtered : ???
Natural Colour : ???
Maturation : First fill ex-bourbon casks
Region : Highland
Colour : Light Gold