TULLIBARDINE ……………………CALGARY REVOLUTION TULLY TASTING
For the benefit of the great unwashed, the Tullibardine distillery was founded in 1949 by an architect by the name of William Delmé-Evans. It is located in the village of Blackford in Perthshire. William Delmé-Evans, also known as Willie, was involved with the construction of the Jura distillery in 1963 and the Glenallachie distillery in 1967. He remained as managing director of the Jura distillery until his retirement in 1975, but not before overstocking the distillery with more Willies (Willie Tait & Willie Cochrane) to ensure that a Willie would always remain at the head of the distillery.
The Tullibardine distillery was built on the site of an old brewery from which King James IV was said to have purchased beer for his many overnight jousting parties, along with his coronation in 1488. Hence the 1488 beer that is sold today and the unofficial distillery motto of: “A mounted Knight is a happy Knight”. The Tullibardine distillery was first sold in 1953 to Brodie Hepburn Ltd. and in turn was purchased by Invergordon in 1971, followed by Whyte & Mackay in 1993 nosing their way in and then mothballing the distillery in 1994. The distillery remained closed until 2003 when it was sold to a consortium of private investors who in the same year started up production again. In November 2011 the distillery was then sold to a French corporation and the current owner, Picard Vins & Spiritueux.
Recently Tullibardine altered their lineup and updated their packaging but what was the real reason behind the change? Well the answer may shock you, then again being a whisky drinker it may not, but if you have an open mind and are ready to accept an alternate version of what you have been fed by the whisky industry, then keep reading and we’ll show you how deep the French designer rabbit-hole goes.
ARRETER LE BUS ……………. STOP THE BUS / TRUFFLE FROTTANT …………… TRUFFLE RUBBING
Using our extensive connections within the whisky drinking community and for the price of a few drams, we managed to loosen the tongue of a whisky bar patron to talk us about the real story behind the change at Tullibardine, Glenmorangie and so many more Scottish distilleries.
The SHOCKING TRUTH is that some Scottish distilleries may be rubbing the inside of casks with truffles before filling them with new spirit.
This whisky bar patron and self-professed industry whistle blower known only as Jerry is quoted as saying, “The practice of rubbing ones truffle is well known”. Jerry also went on to say, off the record, that truffle rubbing was born out of desperation after the 1983 downturn. Distilleries turned to bold innovative strategies to attract new consumers to help leapfrog sales. The French were targeted as an unrealized market and, given that the French possess a superior sense of smell and taste, it was thought that by rubbing out a truffle inside a cask would somehow appeal to their senses and give the consumer the ultimate bespoke Roja Dove olfactory experience. Jerry further said that certain distillers experimented using Perrier water to reduce cask strength whiskies, finished their whisky in Burgundy wine casks (now legal but not at the time) and would use subliminal subtitles on packaging to confuse the consumer into thinking the product was high-quality (“soufre est bonne, si elle boit”/”sulphur is good, so drink it”).
Jerry also said that a few distilleries went even a little further and experimented with intense potent cheeses infused with pureed land snails, in a process called Escargot Brie Blasting. This was done to new casks after charring, but was halted because the workers couldn’t handle the wafting bouquet…and then there was the problem with the mice infestations.
Nobody ever thought that this practice of truffle rubbing, also known as the Eiffel Effect, would become so successful that French consumers would abandon their beloved Brandy and, like catnip to a cat, cocaine to a lawyer or power to a politician, become so helplessly addicted to the golden malt that the French would become the number one (un) consumers of Scotch whisky in the world.
What happened next no one saw coming. French corporations, as quiet as beret wearing mimes inside invisible boxes, went about buying Scottish distilleries on a Grand Napoleonic scale. The purchasing of so many distilleries, we think, was a belief held by French corporations that by owning distilleries they could make the world a better and more beautiful place, while making enormous profits for themselves.
French corporations believed by designing packaging so exquisite that it would transform the average repugnant whisky bar troll/punter into a striking desirable six pack, yacht owning, polo player by simply holding the attractive packaging in front of their dreadfully average faces. Therefore, the great unwashed whisky consumers would line up like Lemmings on a cliff ledge to pay double, triple or more than previous prices all the while thanking the French distillery owners for the privilege to do so.
Tullibardine translated means “Hill of Warning”, so to sound a warning and to back up this claim, we have noted below the Scottish distilleries purchased by French corporations since 1983:
- 1989 Glenallachie sold to Pernod Ricard
- 1997 Ardbeg sold to Moët Hennessy
- 1997 Glenmorangie sold to Moët Hennessy
- 2001 Allt-A-Bhainne sold to Pernod Ricard
- 2001 Braeval sold to Pernod Ricard
- 2001 Glenkeith sold to Pernod Ricard
- 2001 Glenlivet sold to Pernod Ricard
- 2001 Longmorn sold to Pernod Ricard
- 2001 Strathisla sold to Pernod Ricard
- 2005 Glenburgie sold to Pernod Ricard
- 2005 Glentauchers sold to Pernod Ricard
- 2005 Miltonduff sold to Pernod Ricard
- 2005 Tormore sold to Pernod Ricard
- 2008 Glen Moray sold to La Martiniquaise
- 2011 Tullibardine sold to Picard Vins & Spiritueux
- 2012 Bruichladdich sold to Remy Cointreau
In California they have a saying “if the gloves doesn’t fit, let it go”. Well…this glove fits. I’m sure along with the changes in packaging at Tullibardine, the price of an average bottle will be raised like taxation on the poor working class just before the French Revolution and we all know how that ended.
In the mean time you can still enjoy Tullibardine at a reasonable price, which prompted us to have a Calgary Revolution Tully Tasting, where we went about storming four liquor stores in Calgary to liberate four exclusive single cask Tully Hogshead bottlings. To be fair to the stores, we tried the malts blind and the guillotine was never used on any of the stores employees (officially).
To quench the blood red sherry thirst of the common people we finished the night by adding in three more single cask Tullies from 1973 , 1993 PX Sherry Cask and a 1966 Sherry Butt ( World Cup Vintage) but drank these disclosed.
“Vive La Revolution Deux”
So…on April 23, 2013, at the first formal club tasting of the Dram Initiative, we tasted the following Tullibardine malts. Members (Herein after called the Dramned) and some guests, judged the first four malts blind to determine which store can claim to have better taste.
1992 – March 2008 53.8 % ABV Willow Park Wine & Spirits
Bourbon Barrel (Most likely Hogshead) Cask # 239 Bottle # 193 of 241
NOSE: Sweet fruit, vanilla, cherries, cinnamon, flora and minty.
TASTE: Butterscotch, grassy & musty, soft fruit and some raisins.
FINISH: Medium and elegant.
ASSESSMENT: A light delicate mellow dram.
1992 – September 2011 40.3 % ABV Co-op Wine Spirits
Barrel (Most likely Hogshead) Cask # 1875 Bottle # 22 of 191
NOSE: Candy jujubes, caramel, oranges and some other citrus notes, white chocolate.
TASTE: Blueberry tea, burnt sugar, buttery and marzipan.
FINISH: Vibrant at the beginning. Medium and a tad more.
ASSESSMENT: Nice nose but odd palate.
1987 – March 2008 54.6 % ABV Kensington Wine Market
Hogshead Cask # 632 Bottle # 117 of 191
NOSE: Burnt cherries, grape juice, little farmy, cinnamon, nicely layered.
TASTE: Green apples, dark chocolate, raisins, almonds and some tannins.
FINISH: Medium to long.
ASSESSMENT: Very robust for a hogshead cask.
1987 – July 2012 50.1 % ABV Wine & Beyond / Liquor Depot
Hogshead Cask # 650 Bottle # 22 of 207
NOSE: Coke in a can, lots-o-vanilla, coffee and caramel some light stewed fruit.
TASTE: Creamy, marzipan, soft fruit, oatmeal, and some mild tannins.
FINISH: Medium to long. Very gentle fade at the end
ASSESSMENT: Tingles on the tongue. Pleasant candied dram.
********** Score card for the battle of the store picked casks **********
WIN - 1992 Co-op Wine Spirits Cask # 1875
PLACE - 1987 Wine & Beyond / Liquor Depot Cask # 650
SHOW - 1987 Kensington Wine Market Cask # 632
WJWP* -1992 Willow Park Wine & Spirits Cask # 239
*Whisky Judged Without Pity
1973 – May 2005 45.9 % ABV Single Cask Release
Hogshead Cask # 2518 Bottle # 21 of 239
NOSE: Sweet honeyed heather, vanilla, cherries and oranges. Honeydew melon. Some mint.
TASTE: Creamy, almonds, milk chocolate, grassy. A little pineapple & coconut.
FINISH: Medium. Succulent to start and fades softly away.
ASSESSMENT: This is so smooth you would think this is below 40% ABV. Sublime!
1993 – September 2009 54.5 % ABV KWM
Pedro Ximinez Sherry Cask # 15081 Bottle #96 of ? (Split with McLeod Dixon)
NOSE: Sharp sherry spices with lots of vanilla, raisins, and tart orange zest and tobacco notes.
TASTE: Sweet cherries, dark chocolate, lots of spices….nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon to start. Some pepper and tannins.
FINISH: Long. Assertive younger sherry with some sweet notes.
ASSESSMENT: WBS ………Welcome Back Sherry, we’ve missed you after the five sweet bourbon hogsheads.
1966 – April 2006 48 % ABV General Release (World Cup Vintage)
Sherry Butt Cask # 2132 Bottle #251 of 384
NOSE: Ripe melons, creamy toffee, oranges and cherries. Cocoa & coffee. Some floral notes.
TASTE: Mellow spices, green tea. Lots of jammy stewed fruits and some cedar tobacco notes.
FINISH: Long with a gentle fading finish.
ASSESSMENT: Complex, the more you drink it the more notes you can find. Sensuous and stunning for a 40 year old sherry cask.
Boire Comme Un Trou.
- Your humble drudge and member of the walking Dramned,