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Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Tamnavulin 1966-1990 Moon Import 10th Anniversary

Moon Import is an independent bottler better known by previous anorak generations than by more recent whisky lovers. In the 1980s and 1990s, Moon dished out old glories from Ardbeg, Glen Grant, Bowmore, Longmorn, Macallan, and Springbank. Their output has been much quieter over the past decade, though they seem to be connected to MASAM's bulbous bottles.

Today's 1966 Tamnavulin is probably the first (and last?) classic Moon Import whisky to pass though my liver. I tried it side-by-side with Monday's 22yo Tamnavulin, also bottled at 45%abv.

pic source

Distillery: Tamnavulin
Ownership then: Invergordon Distillers Ltd.
Ownership now: Emperador Inc. (via Whyte and Mackay Group)
Region: Speyside (Livet)
Bottler: Moon Import
Age: 23 - 24 years old (1966 - 1990)
Maturation: ???
Alcohol by Volume: 45%
(from a bottle split)


My nose notes say "Very similar to the 22yo but gentler", but then list completely different characteristics. It's "fruitier, dustier, funkier". Apples and lychees mix with mint leaves, cinnamon, butterscotch, and whole wheat bread crust.

The palate starts of toasty and nutty, almost like a Fino. Then the tart nectarines and sweet oranges appear. Apples and chile oil follow later, with a whiff of smoke in the background.

Sweet + tart citrus and stone fruits receive a zing of heat from the chile oil in the finish.


This is a bright, fresh Speysider that I'd be happy to drink any day or evening. The fruits and nuts work very well together, offering a tastier and more balanced palate than the 22yo possessed. It's also very light and almost fragile. As with the 22yo, this bottle was opened seven months ago and the splits were promptly poured, so oxygen hasn't had the time to alter the liquid. Could 33 years in the bottle have softened the whisky? And who knows what its storage situation was for all that time. Did it once offer a bolder experience? If you've had a better experience with this whisky, please share in the comments!

Availability - Secondary market
Pricing - ????
Rating - 86