What's on the menu?

What's on the menu?

Monday, 5 January 2015

Tullibardine Whisky Distillery Tour

Tullibardine 1488

This post originally appears on the Lone Male in the Kitchen Blog August 2013


The Lone Male On Tour: Visiting Tullibardine Distillery.

Back in March 2013 I headed up to Glenshee for something I never really thought was possible to do in the UK- Skiing. Every winter I tend to head away for a week in search of the white stuff. Skiing has taken me into some fantastic mountainous areas with unique food and drink cultures as a result to explore.

For me I can think of nothing better than a trip which involves Whisky and Skiing. On the way up to Glenshee I decided to call in on a whisky distillery on the way up to the Highlands which would help to break up the drive and a relatively short Google search came up with visiting the Tullibardine Distillery which actually fell on my planned route up after a total of about 5 hours of driving.
Lone male in the kitchen
The Tullibardine Whisky Distillery at Blackford. 

Tullibardine Distillery address and contact information

Lone male in the kitchen
An old barrel signifies warehouse number 4 at Tullibardine Distillery, Blackford

Tullibardine Distillery,
Blackford,
Perthshire,
PH4 1QG,
Scotland
United Kingdom

Telephone: 01764 682252 
Fax: 01764 682330

Website: tullibardine.com
Email: tours@tullibardine.com

The distillery is located just off the A9 between Stirling and Perth. The site forms part of Eaglesgate retail village which is set amongst the rolling Ochil hills of Perthshire.

My visit and tour of the Tullibardine Distillery
Knowing I would be heading past the distillery on my way up to the Cairngorms I made sure I called ahead to check that it would be possible to book myself onto a tour. It's a long way to travel from my Nottingham home to leave disappointed. On calling the distillery I was advised that when I would be attending would be fine and that there would be no need to book although it was always best to check. 

On arrival I was introduced to Gavin, our tour guide who informed me that I would be on the tour with just 4 other people so we would have a nice small group. I handed over my £7 for the Classic Tour which would provide me a guided tour of the site and the opportunity to taste two of Tullibardine's signature malt whiskies. (Other tours are available including a whisky and chocolate specialist tour which sounds very interesting). As a responsible driver all I would sample would be a small taste of each of the whiskies.

As I was slightly early I decided to pay a call (It had been a long drive!) and have a good look around the visitor centre shop. The shop at Tulli is very spacious and well set out with various cabinets housing the whisky as well as a small selection of items to target tourists but without being over the top. As with every distillery I've visited you could also pick up a Tullibardine labelled Glencairn nosing glass. 

Tullibardine also have their own beer which can be purchased on site which uses some of the products of the whisky making process to produce their '1488' labelled beer.

Tullibardine whisky showcased professionally in the visitor centre at Blackford

It turned out that Gavin, our tour guide was in fact the company manager for it's travel trade and tours so we would definitely be in for a treat from a gentlemen who clearly knew his stuff on the distillery. A South African managing within a Scottish Whisky distillery sounds a little peculiar but when you get to know Gavin you'll see he clearly has a passion for Scotland and whisky.

A brief history of Tullibardine Distillery

An old Tullibardine whisky barrel converted to a table
The distillery tour started with a brief history of the site. It transpires that the site had once been a brewery and in 1488 James IV had visited the site following his coronation at the nearby Scone Palace.
The brewery was bought by Welshman William Delme Evenas in 1947 with a view to transforming the site into a whisky distillery Delme Evans had been responsible for the development of a number of other distilleries including Jura and by 1949 spirit was starting to be produced.
1953 saw Delme Evans selling the distillery due to poor health to Brodie Hepburn
1994 saw the distillery mothballed by Whyte & Mackay due to excess capacities within their company.
2003 saw the purchase of the distillery by a small consortium with the view of getting the distillery back up and running again. The consortium also bought back some of their old stock as well. 
2011 saw the distillery purchased by  Picard Vins & Spiritueux who have big plans for the distillery in future amidst the rapidly growing whisky market across the globe.

The Tullibardine name is taken from the Tulliabardine Moor located to the north east of Blackford village. 
A Porteus Patent Malt Mill does the work at Tullibardine
The mash foaming away as the yeast gets to work
The distillery tour was great, there was a lot going on in the areas and I even managed to get a photo in front of the spirit stills which I know some distilleries no longer allow. 
The Lone Male On Tour- Stood in front of the spirit stills. 

Tasting Tullibardine's whiskies

As part of my classic tour of the distillery we were able to taste the 1993 whisky which is a light and slightly spiced whisky. Very easy to drink on a summers day or to celebrate a good day at work although my personal favourite tasting was of the Aged Oak which despite being just an 8 year old whisky is a fantastic easy-drinking whisky that doesn't put up a fight with gentle biscuit and honey textures.
The Tullibardine whisky range- well worth sampling
The Lone Male On Tour at Glenshee Ski Resort, March 2013.
The Lone Male on tour at Glenshee Ski Resort- My reason for heading up to Scotland.
I was lucky to visit a few great whisky distilleries on the trip. 
Have you ever visited Tullibardine distillery? What did you think?

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