Tamnavulin is one of the younger Scottish distilleries and only built in 1966. It was founded to produce a great quantity of whisky for blends and this is still its main job. There are only a few single malts released as official bottlings from Tamnavulin, the “mill on the hill”, but the Speyside distillery on the banks of the river Livet is worth to have a closer look on it.
|Information about the Distillery|
|Average Tasting Notes||Calculated from 9|
The Tamnavulin 12 year old is probably the best known release of Tamnavulin. With its aromatic and light sweetness it is a very nice malt to be enjoyed as an opener before a menu. With notes of heather, malt, fruits and spices and with a hint of smoke the Tamnavulin is a very typical example of a light and aromatic Speysider.
Maybe you already got to know a release that is called Ben Bracken. It is specially bottled for supermarkets and it is - a Tamnavulin!
If you are lucky you will find one or another of older bottlings as for example the Tamnavulin Rare old, released by Gordon & MacPhail in 2014 as a 30 year old single malt. There are intensive sherry aromas, tropical fruits, coconut and coffee to be discovered in the taste of this very aromatic Tamnavulin whisky.
However, most of the whisky produced at Tamnavulin goes into blends of Whyte & Mackay.
Since 2008 the production capacity of Tamnavulin is about four million liters per year and as it is mentioned in the Malt Whisky Yearbook the owners plan to almost tap this full potential in 2015.
16 mashes a week will allow an output of 3.5 million liters new spirit.
The water for the production itself is taken from a naturel well and is stored in an underground reservoir. The cooling water comes from the River Livet next to the distillery. Tamnavulin makes big efforts to increase their thermal efficiency and use the intercepted heat of the distilled spirit to heat the new wash.
The full lauter mash tun of Tamnavulin distillery has a capacity of 10.7 tonnes.
Up to summer 2015 there had been eight wash backs at Tamnavulin, four of them made of Corten steel. In the 1950’s some Scottish distilleries had installed Corten steel wash backs but stainless steel causes less danger of corrosion so there are only a few Corton steel ones left in some distilleries.
In summer 2015 Tamnavulin removed the last remaining four and replaced them by five new once made of stainless steel. So there are now nine washbacks in use at Tamnavulin and they are in use every single day. The fermentation at Tamnavulin takes about 48 hours.
The Pot Stills
Three pairs of pot stills are situated in Tamnavulin’s still house.
On site there are two racket warehouses. They are impressively large: storage is done 10 casks high. This enables Tamnavulin to mature 35.000 casks onsite which are however not all maturing Tamnavulin whisky but also filled with spirit from other distilleries. As a blender Whyte & Mackay also needs many different other single malts.
When Tamnavulin was founded in 1966 it was a response on the big demand the whisky industry reported. The Tamnavulin-Glenlivet Distillery Company was consolidated as a subsidiary of Invergordon Distillers Limited to build and operate a modern distillery. When Whyte & Mackay bought Invergordon Distillers in 1993 at a price of £382 million, Tamnavulin Distillery was passed into their property as well, together with Bruichladdich, Isle of Jura, Tullibardine and Invergordon.
In 1995 Tamnavulin was closed.
There was a short term of distillation for some weeks in 2000, but Tamnavulin only saw a real revival, when United Spirits acquired Whyte & Mackay in 2007. The Indian company under the leadership of Vijay Mallya initiated a refurbishment with new automatism and modern technology. From 2013 onwards Diageo acquired more and more shares of United Spirits until they became the largest shareholder and substantial changes followed.
In 2014 Whyte & Mackay was sold by Diageo to Emperador Inc. a subsidiary of the Phillipine Alliance Global Group, Inc. at £430 millions to ease competition concerns.
Up to the 1990’s there had been a visitor center at Tamnavulin, located in the old wool mill.
Unfortunately it is closed now and no tours are offered.