Tamnavulin 1993 (Malts of Scotland) Review

“Malt and Barley Blues”

Country: Scotland 
Region: Speyside
Brand: Tamnavulin 1993 (Malts of Scotland Warehouse-Range)
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Age: 19/20 Years
ABV: 54.6 %

Colour: Light Golden

Nose: The Alcohol is pretty strong at first so be sure to give this Tamnavulin enough time in the glass. The Aromas as such are not bad but it all seems to lack a bit of Balance. It's both Sweet and Sour with Barley, Heather Honey, Vanilla, Butter Kekse, Straw, Fennel, Floral Scented Soap and Candles, Sour Cherries, Cocoa, Herbs and hints of Dusty Shelves, Leather and Smoke. It's a bit of a mixed bag and the Alcohol keeps playing up regularly.

Palate: The arrival is a bit Sharp on account of the strong Alcohol. This Single Malt does not deliver on the Palate what the Nose is promising and lacks sufficient interesting Flavours. I find strong Barley, Straw, Oak, Wax, light Vanilla, Red Grapes, Pepper, Cloves, Cinnamon and hints of Smoke and Dairy. 

Finish: Quite Long. The Oak and Spices take complete control by now. Besides the Wood I find solid Barley, Cocoa, light Vanilla, Lemon-Pepper, Cloves, Salt, Wax and the finest hints of Smoke and Cranberries. Quite Dry in the end.

I added a bit of Water and on the Nose the Alcohol retreats, giving more space to the Barley, the Floral notes and the Fruit. On the Palate and in the Finish however the Oak and Spices become quite dominant. Still, there's some room to play with a little Water.

Rating: 84.5

Nose: 21.5 - Taste: 21 - Finish: 21 - Overall: 21

General Remarks: The Tamnavulin I am reviewing today was distilled in May 1993 and bottled at Cask Strength in January 2013 by Malts of Scotland. It aged in an Ex-Bourbon Hogshead # MoS 13003. This Single Malt is Uncoloured and not Chill-Filtered. It won't be easy to find and costs an average 135 US Dollars.  
(September 2015).

The Tamnavulin (Mill on the Hill) Distillery was founded in 1966 by Invergordon Distillers. This company was bought by Whyte & Mackay in 1993. The latter in turn was bought by United Spirits from India in 2007. In 2014, United Spirits had to sell the Tamnavulin distillery to Emperador Inc. from the Philippines for competitive reasons. Despite the fact that it's a young distillery, it had to stop production from 1995 to 2007. It's located 12 miles South-West of Dufftown in the village of Tomnavoulin. At least until recently, most Spirit of this Distillery was used in the Whyte & Mackay Blends.  

Drinking Experience Neat: Good 

Conclusion: This is my first Tamnavulin and I find it an interesting tasting experience. It's not at all a well-balanced Single Malt. The Nose is both Sweet and Sour and has lots of waxy Floral notes. It's almost like walking in a perfume shop although you must get rid of the Alcohol first. But on the Palate and in the Finish Alcohol, Spices and Oak rule with some Red Fruit thrown in for good measure. Still, there is something that sort of holds it all together and that's the Barley. Good quality stuff and excellent material for Blends. I do think however that the Tamnavulin has Single Malt potential as well and I would love to try say a 15 Year old with a solid Ex-Sherry Cask finish. That could well be a cracker! Because this Tamnavulin 1993 depends too much on the Barley and misses the Fruit. So while I won't buy a full bottle of this, I did like the experience! 

Jan van den Ende                                                             September 17, 2015

Tamnavulin (Picture Credit:Whisky Mini Bottles EU)

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