Tullibardine Sovereign [The Highlander Pub Flight Review Set #1]

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Hey, look, it’s proof that I can be both right and wrong in two reviews! I’m at a different whisky bar now: The Highlander Pub in Ottawa. Go there. Drink. Be Happy.

I recently wrote about Bruichladdich, well known for finishing some of their products and having a large amount of whiskies. And I recently reviewed a bourbon cask from them to show they aren’t just “that distillery that finishes things.”

So what does that have to do with this, a completely different review, potentially with a different moral and different tone, perhaps in which I pretend I’m a planet drinking human souls from a Glencairn of anger and happiness.

Let me make a mental note about that last one. Okay, good to go, stabbed my brain with a pen.

Though not as prolific as Bruichladdich, Tullibardine is well known as well for finishing their whisky in different wine casks. save for one: Tullibardine Sovereign. This NAS whisky of their main line-up is the only one to be finishing a finish, like the guy who showed up to the massage therapist with exact change.

Mental note, hit the bank.

Tullibardine Sovereign fits in with the previous narrative because it has no finish. It misses part of it because it’s NAS and an entry level malt.

See, I’m ready for the annoying arguments already. Go me.

And while this one isn’t a limited edition or anything, it has been aged in first fill ex-bourbon casks. So it does have that over the recent one.

But enough equivocating and preparing myself for angry internet whisky nerd rage; Let’s see how it tastes, shall we?

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Price: $79.95 (CAD) at the LCBO

Region: Highland

Abv: 43%

Colour: 7/5Y 9/3

Nose: Pear, lilac, light caramel, freshly cut greed wood, hard candy

Quite sweet on the nose. Starts off like a Lowland, then quickly reminds you that grass can, in fact, be candied like everything else.

Candied grass sounds like a new name for a dispensary.

Mental note, get a bank loan.

While we don’t know the age (based on the website), this smells quite young. Lots of green wood or cooked sugar notes. Kinda harsh.

Taste: Lemon, earth, mint, cotton, pecan, butter

Simpler flavours than I’d expect from first fill, I think the lower Abv here or maybe a potential young age has left us with a less than complex flavour profile.

Don’t get me wrong; I can eat pecan and butter all day. However this is less those points and more so earthiness and cotton, like being out in the fields all day.

Mental notes, don’t infer I’m a slave owner anymore. Just not funny.

Finish: White pepper, cassia buds, pear, cumin, taffy

Very spicy and hot. Lots of pepper and cumin. It’s young, sweet, and really, really hot, like two lapdancers fighting over a tip.

Mental note, get more twoonies.

Conclusion: This is an example of what I like to believe started out as a potential high quality dram and ended up being lowered in abv. and age and put at the front of the lot.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s okay. There’s nothing wretched about it, it’s just quite young, not quite developed, and lacking complexity. I like to believe given more time and more Abv., we could have proven that Tullibardine doesn’t need no finish (because it’s a strong independent spirit). However this isn’t the one to prove that point.

71/100

Scotch review #483, Highland review #83, Whisky Network review #786

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