August 2017 Whisky of the Month:
Introducing to Australia for the first time ever, the incredible Tullibardine The Murray 2004.
Exclusive to The Club from the stills of one of Scotland’s true great single malt makers, to barrel, to bottle, to you, this is classic Tullibardine.
It is also the first release of a Tullibardine made this century at cask strength, the very first whisky from the Tullibardine Marquess Collection AND the first official shipment of any Tullibardine to Australia in over a decade. Can you tell we’re excited!
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Country of Origin:
There’s gold in them there hills. Formed over 400 million years ago, the basalt and red sandstone Ochil Hills that surround the Tullibardine Distillery are as well-known for the gold that was mined from them as for the liquid gold their waters become. It takes 15 years for water to permeate through the layers of stone to reach the pristine Dannie Burn, the spring from which the distillery takes its water, and the same source for the famous Highland Spring mineral water.
Located in Blackford, the gateway to the Highlands, and next to the Gleneagles Golf Course, Tullibardine is one of the oldest locations for brewing and distilling in Scotland. In 1488, it was here that the young King James IV of Scotland stopped by before his coronation to purchase beer from the local brewery. This significant action has gone down in history as the first public purchase of beer, though you can only imagine how different the transaction may have looked like compared to how we purchase beer today!
Still going strong in 1503, the brewery received the first Royal Charter issued by James 4th in recognition of the fine beer produced at Tullibardine, and there’ve been breweries and distilleries operating at the location ever since.
Whisky production started at Tullibardine in 1947 when industry legend William Delm-Evans visited the area to investigate the fresh spring water. Delm-Evans is one the 20th century’s leading distillery designers and his focus on energy efficiency and his mission to create an “up-to-date gravity-flow distillery” put him many years ahead of his peers. Unsurprisingly when he discovered just how pure the water was, William knew immediately he’d found the perfect location for distilling whisky and began converting the brewery buildings accordingly. The first spirit was distilled in 1949 and signified a new chapter in Scotch whisky history as this was the first distillery to be built in the 20th century, and the first since the Pattinson Crisis. He saw excellent returns on his investment thanks to the whisky boom and sold to Brodie Hepburn in 1953 before going on to design and build both the Jura and Glenallachie distilleries.
Brodie Hepburn continued production for the next few decades using the original two stills and maturing in sherry casks before they were bought by Invergordon Distillers in 1973 who increased capacity to three million litres with the addition of two more stills. The distillery was sadly mothballed in 1994 when Whyte & Mackay bought Invergordon and lay silent until 2003, when it was purchased and revived by local business partners Michael Beamish and Douglas Ross who did an excellent job distilling highly sought after whisky and laying the groundwork for developing Tullibardine into a leading single malt house. Their efforts didn’t go unnoticed and in 2011 Tullibardine was purchased by a family company, Picard Vins & Spiritueux, who were already heavily involved in the whisky industry. Since taking over they’ve further invested in Tullibardine’s single malt releases much to the praise and delight of critics and fans across the world.
About Tullibardine Single Malt Whisky:
Tullibardine Distillery was originally set up to produce malt whisky for use by blenders and operated this model until it was mothballed by Whyte & Mackay in 1994. It produced a light, nutty spirit and while the main focus was on blending, a few single malt releases came to market, most notably a 10 Year Old during the 1990s – which is highly collectable, so snap it up if you ever come across one!
When Michael Beamish and Douglas Ross revived Tullibardine in 2003 it was with the intention of making it into a respectable single malt house and they did a very good job of it. Initially a few adjustments were required to get the flavour profile just right; the spirit run was tweaked to introduce more high-toned floral notes and the nutty notes were reduced, but the biggest challenge by far was an extensive re-casking operation to move much of the whisky from old, tired casks into fresh casks that would bring out the best in the spirit. Tullibardine’s fortunes were further bolstered when PV&S took over in 2011. The well-funded family owners brought an influx of cash and crucial access to a huge variety of excellent casks thanks to their wine connections in France, which were used to great effect in popular releases like the Sauternes Finish and Burgundy Finish.
The Marquess Collection is a new set of whiskies from Tullibardine, named to commemorate the many historical figures that have over the centuries held the title of Marquess of Tullibardine. The Murray is the first in this collection, named after Sir William Murray, The Second Marquess of Tullibardine. All whiskies in the Marquess Collection are from a single vintage, bottled at 56.1% ABV cask strength, natural colour and no chill filtration. The Murray is the first release in the Collection and is a classic Tullibardine that has spent all its life in 1st fill Bourbon barrels. This 12-year-old was barrelled in 2004 and bottled in 2016 and is also the first release of a Tullibardine made this century at cask strength. Exclusive to The Whisky Club in Australia, it represents the first official shipment of any Tullibardine to Australia in over a decade. The Murray has had a stellar year of awards so far, walking away with a coveted Gold medal and Top of Category at the 2017 Spirits Business Scotch Whisky Masters along with 95 points at the 2017 Ultimate Spirits Challenge.
If you like your whisky straight from the barrel, the way it’s meant to be, you’re in for a real treat with this one. Enjoy it neat, but remember that the beauty of cask strength is the ability to also experiment with adding a few drops of water until you find your sweet spot.
$115 per bottle + $15 postage
Age on release:
Matured for 12 years in first fill American oak ex-bourbon casks.
Tullibardine quick facts
Place of origin: Blackford, Perthshire, PH4 1QG, Scotland
Water source: Danny Burn
Washbacks: 6 washbacks
Number of stills: 2 wash and 2 spirit
Capacity: 3,000,000 litres per annum
Nose: Chocolate-dipped strawberries and freshly baked pastry leading to beautiful vanilla oak
Palate: Juicy orchard fruits and orange blossom with plenty of sweet barley
Finish: Lingering spicy dry peppercorn finish
Dark chocolate and ginger biscuits