In a previous post on Sauternes finishes I wrote that since Sauternes casks are so expensive, we rarely see sauternes matured whiskys, and there are but a few Sauternes finished whiskys around. For a recent Sauternes themed meeting of the Malt Mongers – Israel Club held in July, we had two pairs of old vs. new – two Tullibardine Sauternes finishes whiskys and the two Glenmorangies. You can read my comparison of the two Glenmorangies here.
Strangely, both tastings indicated that the new expressions were better than the old ones, although the mentioning the Glenmorangie and the Tullibardine in the same breath is doing Glenmorangie an injustice. In general, there is something non distinct about the Tullibardine malt, and the combination with the finishing cask (Sauternes in the case of the 225 and Burgundy in the case of the 228, both of which I’ve tasted). I’m not sure if more time in the finishing cask is what’s needed, or if it’s just the distillery new make and style, in which case you can like it or leave it (and for me, at least, it’s “leave it”…). I will add a cautionary note, stating that I didn’t taste the plain ex-bourbon cask expression yet, the Sovereign, so I don’t know how the whisky is without a finishing cask’s influence.
While we’re mainly concerned with the quality of the spirit in this blog, value for your money is clearly an issue. Sadly, in Israel, the line is priced at just under double its correct price point (which I normally gauge at about 10-15% above prices in the UK, indicating blatant importer greed), and thus represents a terrible VFM.
So how are they?
|Tullibardine Sauternes (46% ABV)||Tullibardine 225 (43% ABV)|
|Gold, quick legs||Color||Pale gold, quick legs that leave drops|
|Fresh leaves, malt notes of vanilla and pineapple||Nose||Banana, petit beurre biscuit and cake base.|
|Grass, black pepper, chili pepper, cloves. Very spicy and malty.||Palate||Light in the mouth, sweet with vanilla and spices (nutmeg, clove and pepper.|
|Long and spicy, stays long on the tongue||Finish||Medium with spicy – mainly peppery – notes|
|This expression is more interesting than the 225, but is not as smooth. I think that if this whisky spent more time in the finishing cask, it might do pretty well.||Conclusion||The 225 is more drinkable than the old one.|
Sadly, I can’t say I recommend either of these. Were I to score whiskys on a scale of 1-100, which I don’t – because I don’t think there’s any real meaning to the difference between a 91 and a 93.5, nor do I think that there’s any really consistent way to give these scores across the board – both of them would be low 70s.
While I don’t score whiskys, I do think a blogger should take a stand, and if I like a whisky, you’ll know it and you’ll also know it when I don’t. I guess it’s pretty obvious where I stand on these two expressions.