Dan Woolley, World of Whisky Ambassador, held a unique and intimate masterclass at the Roosevelt featuring Tullibardine and Isle of Arran single malt whiskies with a tasting of three expressions from each distillery.
Tullibardine and Isle of Arran Whisky Masterclass at the Roosevelt
Recently returned from Scotland where he had toured several distilleries, Dan led the first ever masterclass in Australia for these whiskies with a unique presentation that focussed on the different cask finishes – each whisky was nosed and tasted with the accompanying cask finish.
Dan Woolley*, World of Whisky Ambassador
Dan Woolley has extensive experience in the hospitality industry spanning two decades and has set up, designed and managed some of the most awarded venues in the country. He has set up multiple whisky bars, written numerous whisky lists and has worked with many brands including the Classic Malts Range, Johnnie Walker and part time as Glenfiddich Ambassador. With a massive collection of over 400 whiskies, he is planning to unveil his intimate whisky venue, Arcane, later in the year.
Time and Thyme Aigen cocktail
Before the masterclass commenced, Time and Thyme Aigen cocktail was served on arrival. The drink is a twist on the Rob Roy, a very dry and savoury cocktail made with Lillet Rouge infused with regular thyme, whisky and amaro which is palate cleansing and a little bitter on the finish.
The cocktail was served with mushroom beignets from the Roosevelt‘s kitchen.
Tullibardine Distillery is located in the lower highland, at the foot of the Ochil Hills in Perthshire north of Glasgow, an area traditionally famous for making beer. The distillery uses the same water source (Highland Springs) that was used by the first public brewery in Scotland, and where King James IV purchased beer for his coronation in 1488.
During the 1800s, whisky production started and in 1949, Tullibardine was designated as a large distillery and was the third largest at the time. Bought by White McKay in 1933, they employed John Black, master distiller, who experimented with different cask finishes to bring unique expressions of the single malt.
Tullibardine Aged Oak
Tullibardine Aged Oak (40% ABV) has no age statement, but is approximately 8 to 10 years old. Aged in ex Bourbon casks, the whisky has sweet honey on the nose, apples and pears, spice and vanilla, mild citrus notes and lemon zest. On the palate, once worked around the mouth, the flavour profile on the nose becomes evident with a spicy finish. Sweet, aperitif style, this whisky is an alternative to the Glenfiddich 12 yo or The Glenlivet 12 yo.
Ocean trout tartare
The whisky was paired with a canapé of ocean trout tartare en croute from the Roosevelt’s menu.
Tullibardine Sauternes Finish
Tullibardine Sauternes Finish (46% ABV) has no age statement, is non-chill filtered and is finished in ex Sauternes casks which balances and complements the whisky without dominating its flavour.
The tasting was done with an accompanying Sauternes, Lions de Suduraut 2009, which is a very sweet, fruity and luscious wine. By nosing the whisky and its complementary wine, the cask finish notes are enhanced and the nuances of the whisky are appreciated.
On the nose, it has a marked sweetness, with plums, sweet Mirabelle fruit with traces of orange. On the palate, it has an alcoholic bite from the ABV but remains smooth, fruity and sweet on the front palate.
Sauternes and chicken liver parfait
The whisky pairs well with the chicken liver parfait with caramelised onion and puffed wild rice canapé and makes a great dessert-style whisky to be savoured at the end of a meal.
Tullibardine Port Finish
Tullibardine Port Finish (46% ABV) also bears no age statement and is finished for 3 to 6 months in port barrels which have held port for a very long time – a key element which ensures that the whisky takes the flavour of what was in the barrel.
The nose on this whisky is sweet and soft, with bursts of berries, roast apples and a hint of oak. On the palate, it has notes of apples, hints of raspberries with caramel notes. The whisky finishes dry with an oaked finish.
Tullibardine Port Finish
Compressed roast pork belly
A delicious main course of compressed roast pork belly glazed with orange and balsamic, squid ceviche and lettuce gazpacho is served before the next whisky tasting.
Isle of Arran
The Isle of Arran Distillers is located off the west coast at Lochranza on the Isle of Arran between Ayrshire and Kintryre. It is one of the few remaining distilleries in Scotland and has the purest water supply in the country, as evidenced by the Geology Department of Glasgow.
The Arran collection
Founded in 1995, it is the third youngest distillery in Scotland, and ages its single malts in ex Buffalo Trace casks, one of the most awarded whiskey distilleries. James McTavitt, ex Bowmore, is the whisky distiller.
Arran Robert Burns Malt
The Arran Robert Burns Malt (40% ABV) has no age statement, and is aged in first fill ex Bourbon casks. The whisky is brought down to 40% ABV to make it aperitif style or a beginner’s whisky.
On the nose, it has sweet honey, followed by apples and pears, soft winter fruit, vanilla and a little oak. Sweeter on the palate, it has the flavours of watered down honey and syrup, soft apple with no harsh alcohol burn. It finishes with a little bourbon sweetness and spice.
The Arran 10yo (46% ABV) is made from whiskies aged in ex Bourbon casks for 10 years and dry sherry casks for 10 years then mixed in a 1:1 ratio. Non-chill filtered, the whisky has a rich golden colour with marmalade and citrus on the nose. The sherry character doesn’t dominate but there are notes of cinnamon, clove with dried stone fruit. The whisky explodes on the palate with a fruity character at first, with marmalade, candied orange, apricots followed by a spice finish which is dry.
The accompanying sherry is sweet on the nose but also has a dry finish that is almost salty.
Arran Port Cask Finish
Arran Port Cask Finish
The last whisky on taste is the Arran Port Cask Finish (50% ABV). Although it carries no age statement, it is a 10 to 12 years old whisky that is finished in port casks for a period greater than six months.
Chocolate bavarois, hazelnut bavarois and smoked ice cream
Pink, almost rosé in colour, it is unique on the nose with vanilla spice, ripe fruit with earthy and sweet floral notes. On the palate, it is nutty, earthy and perfect with the accompanying dessert, a salted orange, chocolate and hazelnut bavarois, salted chocolate feuilletine, Pedro Ximenez jelly and smoked ice cream.
Tullibardine 1992 Single Cask Edition (53.8% ABV)
For a special finale, Dan shares a special dram, the Tullibardine 1992 Single Cask Edition (53.8% ABV). This is bottle number 226 of 328 bottles from cask number 15022 (Hogs Head). The whisky was hand selected by master distiller John Black, distilled in 1992 and bottled in November 2010. All Tullibardine single cask releases are named ‘the John Black’ and are very rare whiskies.
Tullibardine 1992 Single Cask Edition (left)
This bottling has black currants and roasted hazelnuts on the nose and is rich on the palate with spicy marzipan and over-ripe blood red plums. A truly superb whisky with a long, oily and lingering finish.
The Roosevelt Dining Room
The Tullibardine and Isle of Arran Whisky Masterclass was held on Wednesday 19 September 2012 at the Roosevelt in Potts Point.
* Photo credit: Dan Woolley, used with permission
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