How Tullibardine Creates a Truly One-of-a-Kind Single Malt
There's gold in them hills, alright
In partnership with Tullibardine
“Pure Highland Gold” is a phrase often used to describe Tullibardine Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky. It’s as much a nod to the distillery’s high standards of quality as it is a recognition of the source of the distillery’s water and, some would say, its greatness.
Formed more than 400 million years ago with layers of basalt and red sandstone, the Ochil Hills are widely known in Scotland for the gold that was mined there. Today, they’re renowned for the mineral-rich water they provide. It’s in these hills where the Danny Burn originates , the start of a meandering journey that eventually flows through the Tullibardine distillery, a monument to traditional distilling and artisan craftsmanship that remains as relevant and vital today as it was in 1488 when King James IV stopped by the site — a brewery at the time — and made what was recorded as the first-ever public purchase of beer in Scotland.
“Craftsmanship is at the heart of everything we do,” says Distillery General Manager and 20-year industry veteran Mike Elliott. “This way we can stay true to the brand’s heritage and focus on the quality of the spirit, which has gone from strength to strength.”
Another way the distillery stays true to its heritage? All of its products are still made in the Blackford, a quaint village nestled in the Ochil Hills in Perthshire. Tullibardine is one of a very small number of independent, family-owned distilleries in Scotland, where the production of its single malt whisky takes place entirely on site. They have their own cooperage, maturation warehouses, blending facility and bottling line, with a dedicated craft team overseeing all processes and focusing on spirit and wood quality. “We’re able to retain full control of the processes from grain to glass,” Elliott says.
The result is a line of whiskies that is simultaneously unpretentious yet refined with the passion of an artist — and it now features a pair of expressions available exclusively in the U.S. for stateside whisky enthusiasts to experience Tullibardine’s character and the spirits’ journey through various maturation periods in high-quality ex-bourbon casks.
First, the Artisan, with sweet barley sugar notes, subtle hints of vanilla and honey and just a touch of freshly baked malt biscuits. Next, the 12 Year Old, matured in first-fill, ex-bourbon barrels and characterized by round malt, vanilla and toasted-oak flavors that lead to creamy honey and chocolate notes, finishing with baked apples, caramel and marmalade.
We also must mention perhaps the jewel in the crown of Tullibardine’s signature range (though not a U.S. exclusive), the highly awarded 15 Year Old. It is matured in first-fill ex-bourbon barrels for 15 years to create a superb single malt that’ll give you freshly baked scones with strawberry jam and cream, followed by delicate dried spices, sweet barley sugar and a subtle nuttiness, finishing with warming creamy spices.
There’s something for every whisky drinker in the lineup. Elliott sums it up nicely, with equal parts pride and humility befitting Tullibardine’s heritage.
“Let’s be very honest — there are many fantastic single malts in the marketplace that are all unique, but when people taste our products they get a great dram, with layers of complexity at a value they are pleasantly surprised by every time.”
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