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Tullibardine (pronounced: tul-ee-BAR-deen) is a distillery that has only recently penetrated drinkers consciousnesses. This is due to the change of ownership in 2003 and the subsequently renewed effort to promote it as a single malt. Before this it was just another largely unknown blending beast owned by Whyte & MacKay. Since the new ownership have taken over they have worked hard to bring the distillery back up to full capacity and simultaneously expand the range. While they have released some fine bottlings, we all look forward to the day when the new spirit they have produced themselves come of age.
Stills: 2 Wash 2 Spirit
Water Source: Ochil Hills and Danny Burn
Capacity: 2.7 Million Litres
Owners: Tullibardine Distillery Ltd
1960s-Present: Oily, Fruity, Toasty and Cereal
Tullibardine was expanded with a second pair of stills in 1971 and this no doubt altered the distillate slightly but it is very difficult to examine such things form a distillery with such a sporadic output. Some of the finest Tullibardine bottlings are official, sherry cask ones from the late sixties. Bottlings like the single cask 1966 were dark, fulsome drams, full of sherry characters like balsamico, spice, dates, almonds, smoky bacon and dark stewed fruits. They were largely fantastic but fairly divorced from the naked distillate character of Tullibaridine.
Official and independent bottlings out of refill wood have been fairly prevalent in recent years and have shown Tullibardine to be an oily, herbaceous, caramel and garden fruit driven malt. Likewise the new owners have chosen to use extensive finishing, like Bruichladdich and Edradour, as a means to mask some of the imperfections in the old stock they inherited from Whyte & MacKay.
This all brings us back to the future of Tullibardine. It is undeniably a fine distillate but probably needs time for the new owner's stock to mature to its full potential before any serious judgment can be carried out. Here's to the future