Category Archives: Tamnavulin

Tamnavulin ‘Double Cask’

Bought: Tesco, 29th September 2016

87.5/100 – Whisky Bible 2018
80/100 – Malt Box (video review below)
81.88/100 – Whiskybase (average from 27 member votes)

A new release for 2016 is this no-age statement single malt from Tamnavulin. Certain reports online suggest this is the first release from the distillery for about 20 years but in 2015 I bought a 12-year-old that first appeared in 2005 (according to Whiskybase). But the distillery was mothballed between 1995 and 2007. I suppose it’s possible that the distillery owners released a 12yo in 2005 from whisky distilled in 1993, even if the distillery hadn’t officially been reopened. Apparently in 2000 the staff at nearby Tomintoul spent 6 weeks in Tamnavulin distilling 400,000 litres of spirit just to keep stock ticking over. So ‘mothballed’ certainly doesn’t always mean ‘inactive’.

The official tasting notes for the ‘Double Cask’ are:

Nose: rich, warm aromas of apple, toffee and honey with sweet marzipan and subtle tangy marmalade notes.
Palate: fresh, mellow notes of pear, creamy peaches, pineapple and a hint of Demerara sugar.
Finish: rich, smooth and refreshing. A signature Speyside malt.

Although 81/100 from two votes on Whiskybase may sound good comments on the Malt Maniacs Facebook page have been quite critical. It will be interesting to see where the Double Cask’s score levels out after 20+ ratings.

(Update Oct 2017): Well there’s a surprise. After 27 votes on Whiskybase the average score has moved up to nearly 82/100, which is a very good mark. The Whisky Bible 2018 has arrived and Jim Murray gave the ‘Double Cask’ a fantastic 87.5/100, which classifies the malt as ‘very good to excellent whisky definitely worth buying’.

Scoring 80/100 from Andy of Malt Box is quite a reasonable score. Here is his review on You Tube (November 2016):


Tamnavulin 12-year-old

Bought: Oddbins, 29th July 2015

77.08/100 – Whiskybase (average from 63 member votes)

This 12-year-old whisky is a distillery release from Tamnavulin, which was founded in 1966, closed in 1995 and reopened again in 2007. But that’s only 8 years ago, so where does the 12 years come from? Apparently the staff of neighbouring Tomintoul distillery went into Tamnavulin in 2000 and made 400,000 litres of new spirit to keep the stock ticking over. How kind of them! I’m assuming the whisky in my bottle is from 2000, rather than older stock from pre 1995.

There aren’t many bottlings produced of Tamnavulin, with only 4 listed in the Whisky Bible 2015, of which the youngest is a 21yo. This 12yo is the principal distillery release, which scores a modest 77/100 on Whiskybase. One voter says of the taste “it’s rather weak, grassy, sugar free lemonade and green tea.” And summarises with “it’s not great but it’s not bad either……I find it quite interesting and need another one.”

Tamnavulin whisky might be rare in comparison to most distilleries but this 12yo certainly isn’t an investment. Sadly the quality isn’t good enough for that but, as an example of what the distillery can produce, it should be an acceptable sipper.

Tamnavulin 12yo 70cl

Tamnavulin 1990

Bought – Justminiatures, 13th November 2013

A discontinued version of Tamnavulin from the Connoisseurs Choice range by Gordon & MacPhail. The ‘Tasting Notes’ for this whisky from the Gordon & MacPhail website says:

AROMA without water

A malty freshness, floral notes, hints of fresh grass, a delicate smoke intertwines and sweetness – marshmallows.

TASTE without water

Soft with a rounded spice, some sweetness, hints of stewed apples.

AROMA with water

Fresher and more fruity, suntle citrus edge – lemons and limes. With a hint of a spice lingering in the background.

TASTE with water

Initially citrus fruit influences – orange rind. A sweetness remains. Well rounded and delicate.

This malt used to be sold at ‘Master of Malt’ where one purchaser gave it a glowing review and 4.5/5 stars. Sounds good to me! 🙂

Tamnavulin 1990 5cl