Tullibardine 225 Sauternes Finish

Tullibardine Sauternes FinishDistillery: Tullibardine
Region: Highland
Age: No age statement
abv: 43%

Established in 1949, Tullibardine was the first distillery to open in the 20th century, after some extremely difficult decades for the whisky industry. Don’t be fooled by the 1488 indicated on the box, this is merely marketing: supposedly King James IV had a beer at a brewery located roughly where Tullibardine distillery now stands. Either way, a rich heritage is not required to make good quality whisky, and Tullibardine has some fabulous drams on offer indeed. This particular whisky was aged in first-fill bourbon barrels, before being transferred to casks that previously held Sauternes.   Sauternes is a sweet white dessert wine made in the Bordeaux region of France. In this case, the cask was previously filled with 225 litres of Château Suduiraut Premier Cru, lending sweet, fruity flavours to this whisky. While I’m not a fan of Genmorangie’s Nectar d’Or, I was more than happy to give Sauternes finishes another try.

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Age Your Own Whisky – Ardbeg Port Finish

Ardbeg Port Finish 01

For this next batch, I filled the cask with port first, to finish the Ardbeg 10 year old in it afterwards. I chose a ruby port for the job, as these do not previously age in oak casks and therefore retain the full, fruity flavours I was looking for in my Ardbeg Port Finish. I let the wood soak up the port for just over two weeks, after which I emptied the cask.

Age Your Own Whisky - Port Cask 01

I am no great connoisseur of port, so I won’t bore you with taste profiles of the versions before and after maturation. Suffice it to say there is a very noticeable difference in flavour, with the matured port having much more depth and character.

Now for the exciting part, filling up the cask with Ardbeg 10 year old. As usual, the barrel took in about 1.1 litre of liquid, which I then stored in my shed for lower temperatures and less evaporation. When I checked on the liquid after just one day, the Ardbeg had already taken on a reddish colour, as it mixed with the port that was absorbed by the wood of the cask. I intended to take a sample each week for a month, but decided the whisky had already matured enough after just two weeks. As described in previous posts, the fact this barrel is so small and was until recently unused means that the maturation process is incredibly quick. Since I did not want to lose Ardbeg’s unique flavour profile to the influences of the cask altogether, I emptied out the barrel and with great anticipation sat down for a tasting.

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