Saturday, November 11, 2023

mein drampf

Here is the whisky news. And the whisky news is: I've run out of whisky! Yes, the bottle of Johnnie Walker Black Label that I've been eking modest dramlets from for a few months has finally bitten the dust, and the cupboard is now officially bare - well, bare of whisky anyway; there's still some coconut rum, some Austrian schnapps in a bottle shaped like a violin and a miniature bottle of Amarula that's almost certainly just yellow dust by now.

Don't panic, though, because Sainsbury's have a few Nectar card offers on, including this bottle of Tullibardine, which I snapped up, partly because it's a distillery that has never featured in this list, though I see I did mention it here in the context of Andy having had some in his whisky cupboard. That was 13 years ago so I'm going to guess it's not there any more. 

Tullibardine has had an interesting history despite being founded as recently as 1949 - mothballed in 1995, it was revived in 2003 and offers, as many distilleries do these days, a bewildering variety of different finishes. The one I have here is the entry-level one, called Sovereign for no readily apparent reason, and finished in the relatively orthodox surroundings of ex-bourbon casks. 

The distillery is in Blackford, just down the road from the Gleneagles hotel and golf complex, so it's in the Highland region. That doesn't of itself tell you much about what to expect as there's a wide variation in the region from the smoky delights of Ardmore to the rich cakey goodness of Clynelish and Dalmore, Ben Nevis and Oban on the west coast and the lighter stuff like Glenmorangie and Glengoyne

As it happens if you didn't know better you might assume this was a generic Speysider very much in the vein of many previous featurees here like Tomatin, Speyburn, Knockando and Glenlivet. It's quite pale (no cryptic foreign-language disclaimers here), with the usual whiff of magic markers (like most no-age-statement varieties there's probably some quite young whisky in it) but also some marzipan and just a suspicion of something a bit vegetable-y; nothing on the scale of the Tobermory, though. 

Have a taste and it's slightly less sweet than you might expect but otherwise not much out of the ordinary going on; it's a very pleasant sipping whisky but it's not going to blow your socks off.

One odd thing you might notice is the heavy featuring of the number 1488 on the packaging and indeed on the distillery building itself. This is intended to be a reference to the visit of James IV of Scotland to the site (a brewery at the time) in that year, presumably to get a few tinnies in for a weekend with the boys. A couple of related comments: firstly this is a bit of claiming association with some largely unrelated historical date that's even more cheeky than the Loch Lomond one, secondly that number is famous in internet circles for having other connotations, connotations that you might decide you didn't want any chance of your product being tainted by association with. Put it another way, if you meet someone with a prominent "1488" tattoo somewhere on their body, it probably doesn't denote their enthusiasm for Tullibardine whisky and approaching with caution might be advisable.

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