The history of Tullibardine as a site for brewing and distilling is one of the longest in Scotland. The site, on which Tullibardine is positioned, was once home to a brewery. It is claimed it that King James IV purchased beer at this brewery to celebrate his coronation at Scone Palace in 1488. In 1503 the brewery received the first Royal Charter issued by James IV. It was awarded to recognize the fine beer produced. Tullibardine then disappears off the pages of history. In 1947 architect William Delmé-Evans rediscovered the disused brewery.
He began converting the remaining buildings into a distillery. The first spirit was distilled in 1949 at the newly named Tullibardine Distillery. Named for Tullibardine Moor, the distillery draws its water from the Danny Burn. It lies to the southwest of Blackford, in the Scottish Highlands. The area is renowned for the purity of its water. The water that reaches the distillery has taken 15 years to reach the Danny Burn through the underlying rocks.
The distillery was mothballed in 1995 by then owner Whyte & Mackay. In 2003, it was sold to Tullibardine Distillery Ltd, who resumed production. In November 2011, the distillery was sold to the French firm Picard Vins & Spiritueux. With such a complex history, punctuated by stops and starts, we were looking forward to assessing this expression. The 1993 Vintage Edition is a collectors limited edition expression. It is one of a number of limited edition expression released around the same time.
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Tasting notes Tullibardine 1993 Vintage Edition
COLOUR: This Tullibardine 1993 Vintage Edition has a pale golden colour
ABV: 43% The whisky was distilled in 1993 and bottled in 2006.
NOSE: The first nosing impression is sweetness with a sherry undertone. Honeycomb, spice and floral come to mind. There is a bit of wood in the background. Fresh fruit dominates the nose after adding a drop of water.
PALATE: On the palate the whisky is very spicy. Ginger, cinnamon and black pepper flood the mouth. There is also some oak between the spice with hints of caramel and cereals. The Tullibardine is a medium bodied whisky and relatively smooth, but has a few edges. It is not a complex whisky and the spice seems to overwhelm it.
FINISH: The finish is long and lingering with a slow build to a medium body finish. It is not a spectacular end, but some condensed milk and oak comes through. This whisky left us a little pondering quite a bit. It reaches for greatness, but seems to fall short in a few places.
The Tullibardine 1993 vintage edition comes across as a little one-dimensional, possibly too spicy. We awarded the Tullibardine 1993 Vintage Edition a RATING: VERY GOOD.
All in all it is not a bad bottle to have in our collection. Our desktop research found that Tullibardine released many limited edition expressions around this time. This may have worked against them. With the amount of spices coming through, this is a whisky that will probably pair well with food. A creamy mussel soup or a roasted rack of lamb should balance the spice out.
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