May 212017
 

Tomatin did a quick renewal of its 25 year old in a half bottle. It appeared in shops for a very short time, and offering an excellent value for money, disappeared off the shelves. I had a chance to taste it and was most pleasantly surprised by this dram.

Photo Credit:
thewhiskyexchange.com

Tomatin 25 (43% ABV)

Appearance: Gold with slow legs. It seems pretty viscous.

Nose: Honeysuckle gives it a strong floral leaning with vanilla and honey, with a dash of freshly cut tropical fruit – pineapple and some fruit cocktail from a can.

Palate: Pineapple juice, heather honey and passion fruit pulp. White pepper and some coconut round it out, followed by a wave of bitter almond.

Linger: Peppery and long, with the fruit on the tongue and a somewhat dusty linger.

Conclusion

The nose is spectacular, and the palate is not bad at all…

Sep 112016
 

Another Tomatin, this time a real beauty!

Photo Credit: drinkableglobe.wordpress.com

Photo Credit: drinkableglobe.wordpress.com

Distilled in 1978, this expression harks back to the time when the distillery was the largest in all of Scotland, in that oh so optimistic pre whisky loch times. Incidentally, the distillery announced in a press release this week the release of a regular 40 year old expression for travel retail, which would have been distilled in or before 1976.

T

Photo Credit: thenosingarse.blogspot.com

Photo Credit: thenosingarse.blogspot.com

Cadenhead’s Small Batch Tomatin 1978, 35 Year Old, Bourbon Hogsheads, Yield 594 Bottles (44.1%)

Appearance: Deep gold with beautifully symmetric legs.

Nose: Old deep honey with a hint of smoke, vanilla that’s almost cake icing and fresh, crisp sliced red apples and my sister in law Rona’s fruit juice sponge cake. After a while, hints of tropical fruit appear.

Palate: Full bodied and vibrant with honey and a mix of gentle spice mix. Creamy and just beautiful on the palate.

Linger: Sweet and slightly bitter and dry, with the bitterness dissipating leaving some unsalted butter or even butter cookies.

Conclusion

Gorgeous stuff, really a top dram.

Sep 032016
 

Tomatin is one of those distilleries that’s pretty consistent in it’s distillery character. You’ll get some tropical fruit and a solid maltiness in every glass.

Photo Credit: visitscotland.com

Photo Credit: visitscotland.com

Tomatin is in the Highlands, but right on the border with Speyside, and at one point was the largest distilleries in Scotland, boasting 23 stills after the fourth expansion in two decades (going from two stills to four in 1956, adding two more in 1958, and another five in 1961, bringing the total to 11 stills, before adding a dozen more in 1974)! Alas, the optimism of the 1970s turned bitter in the 1980s, and Tomatin went bankrupt in 1986. It could have easily gone the way of the dodo (or shall I say the way of the Brora?) were it not for its Japanese customers, Takara Shozu and Okura & Co, who jointly bought the distillery off the liquidation block, and brought it back to life. Indeed, the distillery was saved, and taken down to size, as today it operates with six pairs of stills, although only four of the spirit stills actually are used. Whereas in  the past it was a producer of large quantities for blends, today it’s the malt sales on the distillery’s two brands, Tomatin and the peated Cù Bòcan.

Gordon and Macphail’s endless stocks extend to Tomatin as well, and this is a beautiful expression which highlights the tropical fruit and spice Tomatin does so well…

Photo Credit: thedrinkscellar.com

Photo Credit: thedrinkscellar.com

Gordon & MacPhail Connoisseur’s Choice Tomatin 1997, Bottled 2014 (46% ABV, NCF, NC)

Appearance: Gold, slow legs off a necklace.

 

Nose: Deep tropical fruit with melon, mango, papaya, banana, cinnamon churos and dashes of vanilla and a bit of honey and some furniture varnish.

 

Palate: Mango and passion fruit with citrus rind, pepper and lemon cough drops. After a while, you get dry cloves.

 

Linger: Spicy and fruity, with the tropical fruits interplaying with the spice all the way from the tip of the tongue to the back of the gullet.

Conclusion

If tropical fruit is your thing, and you like spice, this is a dram from a refill bourbon barrel will delight you for the 20 – 30 drams it has in the bottle…

May 012015
 

When I got a dram of the new Tomatin Cask Strength I thought to myself that we’re getting another cask strength sherry bomb, the likes of the Aberlour A’Bunadh, Glenfarclas 105 and the GlenDronach or Glengoyne Cask Strength. Honestly, this is one of my favorite classes of whisky, and I always have 1-2 of the sherry cask strength bottles open,  so an addition to this class is quite welcome.

Photo Credit: drankgigant.nl

Photo Credit: drankgigant.nl

Only I was wrong!

For Tomatin, known for their sherry casks, going this route would have been classic and expected. And they went another route entirely. This expression is not heavily sherried at all, and comes from an unspecified combination of bourbon and Oloroso sherry casks. The result is very fruity and heavy on the Tomatin signature tropical fruit (which is less to my personal palate, but is – nonetheless – well made).

Photo Credit: whiskyintelligence.com

Photo Credit: whiskyintelligence.com

Tomatin Cask Strength (57.5% ABV, NCF, NC)

Appearance: Gold, runs down glass quickly but leaves a ring of residual droplets.

Nose: Relatively young (but not new make-y). Fruits with fresh green fruit, notes of tropical fruits, vanilla, custard, light wood spice and a warm baking pastry. Water sweetens the nose somewhat.

Palate: Spicy with tropical fruit, pepper, cayenne, vanilla, malt with a slightly drying effect in mouth. The spice is somewhat overpowering on the palate.

Linger: Relatively short in  the back of the throat for a cask strength expression, but longer on the tongue with sweet and spicy notes and tropical fruit influences. The finish has a lightly bitter note.

Conclusion

This cask strength expression can become your new favorite if you like tropical fruit notes in your whisky. Basically, if you like Bowmore, you’ll love this.

Personally, I don’t see this expression becoming a staple in my cupboard, but not for lack of quality, rather a difference in palate.

 

 

 

Apr 202015
 

Last year, Tomatin began the release of of a “Wood Influence” showcase series for the Cù Bòcan peated whisky, whose standard edition includes whisky matured in sherry, virgin oak and ex bourbon casks. I reviewed the sherry cask release here, and now head into virgin oak territory. It’s refreshing to see what Tomatin is doing with components, as the past half year saw both the release of the first two Cù Bòcan component bottles and the fascinating ‘Cuatro’ series highlighting four different sherry finishes (Fino, Manzanilla, Oloroso and Pedro Ximenez) on the same spirit for three years, after maturing for nine years in ex bourbon casks.

Photo Credit: winetime.ua

Photo Credit: winetime.ua

I’ll start by saying that I generally like virgin oak maturation for scotch whisky, and this edition does not have the new make spirit notes that the sherry matured edition had. Nevertheless, this is still a rather young expression, and I found it rather fruity and sweet, with the peat taking a backseat.

Photo Credit: Tomatin

Photo Credit: Tomatin

Tomatin Cù Bòcan Virgin Oak Edition (46%ABV, NCF, NC)

Appearance: Gold, legs are quick to vanish.

Nose: White bread toast, light smoke, lemon peel, a banana (the fruit itself, without the peel), yellow hay, pineapple, pear and a lot of cereal.

Palate: Light smokiness, lemon, a citrusy-zesty bitterness and a rum like note. The mouth feel is rather thin on this one.

Linger: Top of the throat gets that clean Highland peat, with a dry, light and clean sweetness on the back of the tongue.

Conclusion

I liked this expression better than its sherry counterpart, mainly for the lack of new make notes in it. I would assume the brand new oak is the most active, thus maturing the whisky faster than the already used sherry cask.