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Tullibardine, Sherry Wood Finish 1993 (Scotland)
Since Tullibardine distillery in Perthshire reopened in 2003 after a decade’s silence, the new owners have issued a significant number of expressions. These have included Marsala, Moscatel and Port wood finishes, but one of the 2006 releases seems the best of the ‘finished’ bunch so far. It is from a 1993 distillation, and has spent some 18 months in an Oloroso Sherry butt prior to bottling. Up there with the same distillery’s excellent cask strength John Black's Selection 1986, Cask 697 for the lover of a truly Sherried malt. The nose is rich, with brittle toffee, a whiff of furniture polish, spice and gentle Sherry. Water releases much sweeter, fruitier notes. In the mouth this is a big-bodied whisky, mouth-coating, spicy, and not too sweet. Elegant and well balanced, with hazelnuts coming through once water is added. The finish is long and increasingly drying. A lovely example of how a perfectly-judged period of Sherry finishing can enhance a malt. Tullibardine and Sherry wood go together extremely well. 46.0% ABV, 70cl, £38, distillery website, specialist whisky merchants.

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