This month we feature a ‘Ghost Whisky’ – one who’s distillery has ceased to operate/shut down. It’s always rather sad to drink something you know will never be made again. Not sad enough to stop you trying it, mind you, but sad enough to raise your glass to the deceased when you do. So a slightly poignant dram this time – the Tamnavulin 12 year old.

Mill on the Hill is the literal translation of Tamnavulin. The Tamnavulin Distillery only operated from 1966 until 1995 when it was mothballed by Whyte and Mackay. Being a rather modern distillery, the latest technology was employed. One of the few distilleries to malt its own barley, Tamnavulin used a Saladin box to ensure even consistent drying. It is the only distillery to use water from the river Livet, but only to cool the condenser. Water added to the raw spirit comes from underground springs at Easterton.

The Tamnavulin 12 year old is one of the last produced at the distillery. It is quite special to think that there will not be any more whisky made like this with its own barley malting and rare underground spring water. We can only hope that someone buys her one day and we can once more obtain this fine single malt whisky.

Let yourself be seduced by the bright amber color and the mellow herbal notes with peat, heather, and hay on the nose. On the palate the Tamnavulin 12YO single malt is lightly spicy to me; some cinnamon and nutmeg come to mind, with citrus zest and other floral notes. I like the “roundness” on this whisky, which reminds me of an old and mature Bordeaux wine; the result of the twelve year maturation.


Bottle Size : 700ml
ABV : 46% abv
Region : Scotland – Highlands
Peated : No

Colour: Bright Amber.

Nose: Distinctively aromatic. An oily perfume. Oil of peppermint? Very floral.

Taste: Clean, light, minty, very herbal.

Finish: Clean, dry, flowery. Vermouth-like. Gently appetising.

Comments: Very much as I remember it. Fresh, attractive.

Tamnavulin 12 year old