Tomatin 1997 – Gordon & MacPhail Connoisseur’s Choice (46%)

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.

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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…

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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.


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…

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