Tullibardine is a distillery which I have been unsure about for some time. They have underwent a lot of investment in recent years after being bought by Picard Vins in France. The shopping centre on the grounds which was a previous revenue stream from the previous owners is now gone and incorporated into the distillery. The strength of the mother company has also meant that the current core range is much more widely available in supermarkets and high street stores.
The problem is though the whisky seems to be very young and put out to market before the whisky might be ready. Bruichladdich for example release whisky at about the same around (5-9 years) but they don’t in my opinion suffer the same problems with harsh rough alcohol polluting into the experience. The reasons could be many things but the potential lists include barrel budgets, speed of production, quality of raw ingredients and the shape of the stills.
This review of a 24 year old full term ex-bourbon barrel shouldn’t have any of the problems of being released too quickly but is it actually any good?
This single cask is bottled by North Star Spirits which is a year old company from Glasgow. Started by director Iain Croucher who previously worked for family owned AD Rattery the independent bottler who previously Bowmore and have just opened Clydeside distillery in Glasgow.
North Star Spirits have really hit the market quickly with a large range of products which are regularly avaiable from all the main online spirit retailers as well as your local high street bottle shop.
The 24 year old single cask was distilled in March 1993 and bottled in May 2017. This led to 255 bottles being sold for £125 each for a 70cl bottle. North Star only bottle with a natural colour and without filtering the whisky harshly before bottling. This is of course a good thing and should be a standard thing but I doubt it ever will be.
Colour – Barley yellow
Nose – This is slightly sour with some cooked pears and a little mango puree.
Palate – Nice thick texture with some runny honey notes and a caramel sauce. Not a quality sauce though more the stuff you get in plastic squeeze-y tubes for the kids ice-cream.
Finish – A drying bitter finish with a touch of grapefruits dusted with sugar. Lots more caramel notes complete the finish with a twist of lemon juice.
I had been feeling in the mood for a bourbon matured whisky for a while. A kind of long term maturation whisky which will have lots of the honey and exotic fruit notes I was looking forward to. This particular cask sadly didn’t really fit the bill having a very strong bitter astringent theme running all the way through it. I suspect this is because the cask was fairly well used prior to its last tenant but I am not completely sure.