“Want to buy a Tullibardine?”
No, of course not.
And that’s the scene. That’s how I assumed this would all go. A whisky friend was asking about splits of bottles, and he brought up Tullibardine.
To be fair to him, he shouldn’t know what distilleries I enjoy or don’t enjoy. That’s crazy town levels of dedication to a friend. But when it comes to Tullibardine I’m not normally hunting them down. Interesting finishes. And it’s from the Highland region, which I’m not the biggest fan of.
Years ago, in the before times of the aughts, Andy Dunn, who would go onto start Gold Medal marketing, puts away two Tullibardine casks. Gold Medal Marketing now is the main importer for Cadenhead’s, A.D. Rattray, Tullibardine, and various others.
Maybe I spoke too soon. So far Cut Point hasn’t released anything but these two casks. I have no idea if they have more casks or not. I have no idea if these will make their way out of just Alberta. Also I don’t know how Alberta feels about it, what with being a trainwreck recently and the world acting kinda funny and most people just trying to survive.
Where was I? Yeah, even upon hearing about Andy Dunn’s pedigree my bias against Tullibardine was pretty fierce. Then my buddy poured me the sherry cask, and I split the ex-bourbon one.
We’re getting ahead of ourselves though: What we have today is a 11-year-old Tullibardine aged solely in ex-sherry and a 13-year-old Tullibardine aged solely in ex-bourbon. Both bottled at cask strength in unassuming bottles.
How’s the juice taste inside? Glad you asked, let’s see, shall we?
Tullibardine 11 2008 Cut Point
Price: $126 CAD
Cask Type: Ex Sherry Hogshead
Cask Number: 12/002
No. of Bottles: 309
Colour: 2.5Y 5/8
Nose: Violets, plum, brown sugar, cloves, m&ms, peachskin, dry peat
Floral, fruity, quite a bit of sugar at first. Thus I’m in hogs heaven, given my cloven feet and penchant for hour long orgasms.
Maybe I should see a doctor.
Water adds almost a smoke and… wait, peat? Huh, I was sitting beside someone who knows whisky better than I do while drinking this and yes, he confirmed, there’s some earthy smoke here. Must be a coincidence. Suffice to say water balances this dram quite nicely.
Taste: Caramel, mint, tarragon, flower bed, grapefruit, mineral
Less sugar on the taste, and the notes that I had that said “peat” make a bit more sense. I must have written that when I was a bit confused to a floral/herbal note. Suffice to say the taste is nicer in that it doesn’t hide the balance behind time or water.
Also I love the floral notes, but I’m biased that way (and so was the person who poured this for me).
Finish: Butterscotch, dandelion, green banana, cloves, birch sap
Similar to before: Starts out with a caramel note, goes to floral, and then you get a mix of sweet and bitter notes. Also a bit of starch flavour in there too. Makes for a unique finish that ends it all perfectly, and then you go back for more.
This would evaporate on a good night. Hell, even on a bad night.
Conclusion: I went into this with 0 confidence in the dram. None. I prefer PX, I assumed this was going to be Oloroso. That’s how little.
And wow was I super wrong. This is a solid, solid whisky. Perfect pick on this one. Aged to the right time. Floral like a Lowland, smoke aspects that surprised me, and frankly someone took the distillery and raised it up to a level that I’ve not run into from the distillery itself.
If this is the first whisky from Cut/Point, then I’ll be following them closely. This is a must buy.
Tullibardine 13 2006 Cut Point
Price: $120 CAD
Cask Type: ex Bourbon Barrel
Cask Number: 633/001
No. of Bottles 215
Colour: 7.5Y 9/6
Nose: Cream, pineapple, Twizzlers, plum pie, grassy
Less bombastic than the sherry one. Eases you into it. Very sweet on the nose though. So like if you made something super sweet, but used half the salt to make it super sweet. Salt makes baked goods taste sweet, fyi.
Oh, and there’s grass and cream I guess but that just sounds like I’m setting up for another dirty joke, and too easy (dammit did it again). Let’s move on, I keep doing it (fuck, I’m a child).
Taste: Peach candy, black pepper, grassy, caramel, mint
Goes from sweet to earthy/grassy really quick. If the taste was a script for a play, it’d be mine and have too many interjections that the director and actors all hate.
Good balance though. I wish it had a bit more fruit flavour. Or maybe some floral elements. Maybe I’m just comparing this to the above, and that’s a terrible thing to do if it wasn’t going to happen no matter what and literally why I’m writing.
Finish: Anise, burnt meat, black pepper, mint, caramel Keeps up with some of the savoury notes, gets a bit hot (but not in a “Jesus is that alcohol” way), and some meatiness, which reminds me of Mortlach.
That’s a good thing. If I’m comparing you to Mortlach, then you’ve made it. Unless you’re not a whisky, then I’ve gone mad and may try to drink you. Run.
Conclusion: So if you’ve had both of these, the sherry one has a lead on this one. But not as much as you’d think.
Initially the sherry one is impressive and fun. This one takes time to pick apart. Slowly it starts to mimic aspects of Mortlach. Again, good thing, I haven’t gone mad (yet).
While I wish this was sweeter, I’m a sweets freak. It’s just the way I am. Once I came to the conclusion that this wasn’t sweet, I dug it more and more. It’s impressive.
Finally, I have to say one thing: Tullibardine, on the off chance that you’re reading this (and I doubt it), hire the guy behind these to consult for a bit. Seriously amazing stuff. Totally turned me around on Tullibardine. I never give up on a distillery at all, as there’s always a chance
Put this guy in there? Or hell, just have some IBs contact him when they are picking Tullibardine? Yeah, better things.
Scotch review #1450-1451, Highland review #238-239, Whisky Network review #2143-2144