Tullibardine 2006 The Murray Marsala Cask
Tullibardine is a big blind spot for me. I remember a very surprising single cask from Douglas Laing, and I’ve tasted a few here and there, but I’ve never visited the distillery, and really have no feel for what Tullibardine can be or should be. Now that I think of it, I’m not even sure who owns Tullibardine! Wait let me check…
Picard Vins & Spiritueux? Oh well, not surprised I didn’t know of them. A big company apparently, just not so much in the Scotch whisky industry. They also own Highland Queen and Muirhead’s blended Scotch whiskies, by the way.
There’s not much history to speak of when it comes to Tullibardine. It’s relatively young, as it was designed and built by William Delme-Evans in 1949. Come to think of it, I actually did know that, because I took a closer look at another Delme-Evans distillery last year, GlenAllachie.
Tullibardine has never had a big single malt presence. Their current core range consists of NAS whiskies, most of which have been finished in wine casks — that’s certain to scare away most whisky enthusiasts. There’s a few older and even super-premium releases, but nothing really that stands out at the entry-level. The Marquess Collection comes closest.
Inspired by the distillery’s heritage and link to the hamlet of Tullibardine, The Marquess Collection is named after Sir William Murray, the 2nd Marquess of Tullibardine. The collection features four whiskies so far. Two vintage cask strength editions, and two wine-finished releases, of which today’s review is one.
Tullibardine 2006 The Murray Marsala Cask (46%, OB, 2018)
Nose: Notes of orchard fruits. Red apple skin, stewed pears, but also cinnamon, clove and a slight floral influence. A hint of macadamia nuts as well.
Taste: Nice integrated cask finish, with a syrupy sweetness certainly originating from the Marsala. Some more stewed pears, but also plums and figs. Finally a touch of orange and coffee bitterness, as well as a fairly pronounced pepperiness, followed by a whiff of oak.
Finish: Early grey, sweet white grapes, spices and sawdust.
The Marsala influence is absolutely noticeable, but never overpowers, which is not always easy with fortified wines. Actually a nice release from Tullibardine, although I’m not immediately tempted to explore the entire Tullibardine range.
Thijs is a spirits writer and accredited liquorist from The Netherlands. He runs the blog Words of Whisky and contributes to a number of Dutch and international publications.