Beer Review: Tullibardine 1488 Premium Whisky Beer

February 9, 2011 at 22:14 (Beer)

330mL bottle, poured into a Chimay chalice. Light turmeric in colour, with a fine, mellow, pearl-white head that resolves into a delicate thin layer. Impressive carbonation.

Smell is equal parts honey, oak, and … well, beer. There’s a nice sweetness to the scent that’s definitely evocative of a highland or speyside whiskey. You can catch a whiff of the barrel it was aged in, too. The hops are somewhere in the background, being quiet.

The immediate taste, surprisingly, is not sweet; a combination of the breadier malt flavours, the yeastiness, and the carbonation rushes to the fore. After that it unfolds really nicely. The oak shows up quickly, and it’s pleasant, not too strong. Then the honeyed whiskey sweetness blooms out of that, followed immediately by an understated hop bitterness that is reminiscent of your standard lager but also … peaty? Maybe that’s just me free-associating from all the other whiskey cues. The aftertaste is warm, and again equal parts honey, oak, and hops. Though the carbonation looked intimidating, it turns out to be just lively enough on the tongue. The ABV of 7% is hard to detect except for a ghost of boozy warmth in the aftertaste.

This is a pretty drinkable beer, though the oak and pilsener-like flavours do start to wear out their welcome a little bit over time. Can’t really fault it for that, though, that’s just how the style is. Definite bonus points for capturing some of the nice qualities of good scotch in a beer. Even if I likely won’t find myself seeking out Scottish beers any more than I have previously (i.e. hardly ever), I’m glad that I tried this.

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