I have an admitted soft spot for Tullibardine. I toured their distillery last year and sampled a wide variety of their single malt offerings. It wasn’t a Scotch that I fully appreciated at first, but I purchased a 1993 vintage which had been aged in muscatel barrels. It was sweet, nicely balanced with oak, and quickly became my favourite easy-drinking Scotch.
Sadly it wasn’t available at the LCBO at first. That changed earlier this year when the LCBO brought in the regular aged 1993 vintage as a limited release. At $65 this is a fantastic purchase, and it’s already almost entirely sold out.
I was pleasantly surprised when I had my first sip of this vintage. You’ll get a hit of alcohol on the nose, but the taste is surprisingly mild by comparison. On the palate you’ll get more of the zesty flavour with a bitter finish, almost like that of a not-quite-ripe green grape (though not nearly as sweet). The after-taste is pleasant and mellow.
Tullibardine has an interesting history. The distillery was largely closed down in the 1990s and it moved quickly between a few buyers. These latest releases are from their old barrels (distilled by previous owners but left on-premise) that have been well aged. Their primary business is small-lot exports, and they’re not as well known within Scotland relative to other distilleries. Tullibardine Scotches offers a fantastic value, considering the evolved and multi-layer flavours.
If you’re ever near the distillery in Perthsire, Scotland, I recommend you take the tour. And if you happen to pick me up a bottle of the muscatel 1993, I’d be extremely appreciative!
Note: Originally published on Spotlight Toronto