Tamnavulin is a relatively new distillery by scotch standards. It was built in 1966 at a time when whisky was booming and demand was outstripping supply. The original owner, Invergordon Distillers, also owned Bruichladdich, Tullibardine and Jura at the time but in 1993, Invergordon was bought by Whyte & MacKay, who made the decision to mothball Tamnavulin in 1995.
The distillery finally re-opened, 12 years later in 2007, when Whyte & MacKay was itself taken over by United Spirits. Throughout all of it’s production Tamnavulin has primarily been used to provide malt for blends, only appearing as a single malt when occasionally released by independent bottlers. However, at the end of last year (2016), Whyte & MacKay, now owned by Emperador, announced that a new expression, The Double Cask, woud be released in the UK and rolled out to other markerts in 2017.
The Double Cask is matured in American Oak casks and finished in Sherry Butts and is bottled at 40%. Recommended retail is £32 but supermarkets in the UK have been running deals since it appeared and you should be able to pick it up for closer to £22. There is a generous amount of caramel colouring here, which is a shame but alas, not a surprise as it seems to be standard practice for Whyte & MacKay single malts – both Dalmore and Jura are loaded with the stuff.
Smell: Almond & Vanilla with Cinnamon, Honeycomb, Apple & Lemon. Maybe some light Sherry notes as well.
Taste: Sherry on the palate at first but it doesn’t last long and fades to Honey & fresh Green Fruits with a little Spice. Light bodied but then it’s only 40% and will have been chill filtered so that is to be expected.
Value for Money: As I mentioned earlier, this Tamnavulin expression has been in the supermarket sales since it’s introduction and at those low prices it is certainly a drinkable enough wee dram to warrant a try.
Score: 38 / 50. About the scores…
It won’t blow you away, but for a No Age Statement single malt, bottled at 40% with a big dollop of colouring… it’s not at all bad. The nose promises more than the palate delivers perhaps but it remains a tasty, lightly warming wee dram.