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Tamnavulin means 'mill on the hill’. The Speyside distillery is the property of Whyte & Mackay, who close dit from 1995 until 2007. The bulk of production is meant for the blenders, so not a lot of single malt is available. Luckily, I have a bottling from Duncan Taylor to taste from. It was distilled before Whyte & Mackay became owners. This is only my 6th Tamnavulin, imagine that. This Rare Auld was bottled at cask strength.
The nose is far from commonplace. I get some baked Pink Lady apples wrapped in tobacco leaves. Mashed potatoes. The sherry translates into leather and mocha. Some dried oranges. A touch of caramel. The spices are cinnamon and coriander. Gooseberries suddenly emerge in full force and dominate the nose. Think what you will – I find this absolutely stunning!
Despite the high ABV, it arrives softly on the palate. The apples return, but no trace of the gooseberries. The mocha is grand, now. Something minty that I quite like. Paprika powder? Oranges, banana, they are all there. Honey as well, which makes it creamy. Does not need water.
The finish is long, spicy and sweet on dried oranges. Grand Marnier for the advanced.
It is always a great pleasure when a whisky surprises me so unexpectedly. This one is simply marvelous.