Turns out that even after five years of whisky blogging, there are still distilleries that I’ve never featured on Words of Whisky. Tullibardine is one of those, but I’m going to rectify that immediately, by reviewing this rather exclusive release from Douglas Laing.
Tullibardine 1993 25 Years Old (55.3%, Douglas Laing ‘XOP’, C#12624)
Nose: Very grain-forward, rye-like even, in a sense almost like a very malty old genever, which is very appealing to me. The grain serves as a canvas, for a whiff of aniseed for example, but also for light touches of tropical fruits and pancake syrup. Very elegant.
Taste: Lovely thick and syrupy mouthfeel, followed by a very spicy and grainy kick. Are we sure this is not an Irish single pot still whiskey? Hints of menthol and burlap, as well as yeast and porridge. Very spirit-driven, and very different.
Finish: Lingering spices and menthol notes.
Judging a whisky that is so deviant is difficult, as more of it comes down to personal preference, I feel. While I try to always be as objective as I can, I’m going to allow my emotional side to take over in this particular case. Isn’t whisky often about emotion anyway?
As some of you may know, I’m a sucker for classic, grain-forward genever, as well as proper Irish single pot still whiskey. This Tullibardine has elements of both. A very unexpected and irregular whisky this is, and at this price I would never recommend anyone to just go out and buy it.
Yet, I’ve sort of fallen in love with it. So if you have the chance, be sure to try it. I can assure you that you’ll be tasting something outside of the norm. Something that is peculiar, and truly singular.
Sample provided by Douglas Laing
Photo: The Whisky Exchange