To date, Tullibardine has been largely known for its relatively forgettable collection of single malts, many of which are perfectly palatable but a bit lackluster despite exotic cask finishes.
That changes with the release of The Murray, a cask strength malt that easily stands as the best whisky I’ve had from this distillery, despite a youthful age of just 12 years. Some details:
The Murray was distilled in 2004 and bottled in 2016 after maturing entirely in first-fill bourbon casks at the Perthshire distillery. Released as the first whisky in Tullibardine’s Marquess Collection, The Murray is named after Sir William Murray, the 2nd Marquess of Tullibardine, and offers a new flavour profile that draws upon the local lands and waters from around the Ochil Hills. Says Keith Geddes, Master Blender at the distillery, “This is the first release in our Marquess Collection, and also the first of our range to be entirely distilled and matured at cask strength this century.”
Let’s give ol’ Murray a spin.
The nose of The Murray is fantastically engaging, a melange of oily wood, cloves, burnt sugar, cayenne, fresh sugar cookies, and — atop it all — plenty of burly malt. A grassy character emerges with some time in glass, eventually evolving into a sort of lemongrass character. At cask strength of over 56% abv, the palate is on the hot side, though it’s still (mostly) approachable with notes of ripe banana, apricots, and sharp orange peel, the fruit fading a bit as notes of walnuts, toasted bread, and fresh wood take hold.
The whisky can stand up to a ton of water, so don’t be shy. Brought down in heat a bit, it reveals notes of licorice, some petrol, a bit of slate, and more of those cloves, which linger on the finish alongside echoes of the barley.
It’s quite a high-grade whisky at a great price, and The Murray drinks well above its mere 12 years of age.