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Hi, this is one of our (almost) daily tastings. Santé!

June 9, 2014


Two new ‘T’ malts

In the old days, all malts starting with ‘T’ bar one (Talisker) used to be seen as a little difficult, or ‘meh’. That was, of course, plain stupid, and many Tormores or Tomatins have proven us wrong.  Not to mention several other distilleries… Anyway, lets have two new ‘T’ malts!

Tobermory 19 yo 1994/2014 (55.8%, Single Malts of Scotland, sherry, cask #5174, 279 bottles)

Tobermory 19 yo 1994/2014 (55.8%, Single Malts of Scotland, sherry, cask #5174, 279 bottles) Three stars Ledaig is stealing the show these days, but I’m sure we haven’t heard the last of the unpeated versions… Colour: full gold. Nose: starts with nice sulphury tones, and I’m not meaning eggs or cabbage, rather matches, leather and gunpowder. Then fruitcake, dried figs, chocolate, toasted raisins and dark toffee. A typical dirty/meaty touch in the background, which is not unpleasant at all. With water: walnut cake all over the place, some vanilla, and no more ‘deviant’ notes. Mouth (neat): very rich, very creamy, roasted and toasty, with a lot of coffee and strong honey, then plum cake and cloves/ginger. Christmas, already? Also a greenness. Right, chlorophyll. With water: water makes it softer and adds bitter oranges. Wakens cardamom too. Finish: long, rounded, honeyed and sherried. Mustard in the aftertaste. Comments: it’s rather leafy/leathery/nutty kind of sherry, with a thick body. Pretty much to my liking, even if this isn’t exactly my preferred style. SGP:462 - 82 points.

Tormore 18 yo 1995/2014 (49.8%, A.D. Rattray, bourbon hogshead, cask #20092, 288 bottles)

Tormore 18 yo 1995/2014 (49.8%, A.D. Rattray, bourbon hogshead, cask #20092, 288 bottles) Three starsColour: dark straw. Nose: interesting, very interesting. I mean, really interesting, I’m not using ‘interesting’ as a substitute for ‘bad’, here, not at all. In fact, it’s one of the most meadowy (!) malts I’ve nosed, with a combination of grasses, flowers and tiny herbs, all that coated with a layer of vanilla cream. Dandelions, buttercups, plain grass, wild thyme, ramsons, then a few roots, maybe apples… It’s very elegant whisky, a bit shy but pleasantly so. Mouth: an unexpected saltiness at first sip, hinting at… say sardines?, then a lot of grass and fruit skins. Apples, walnuts and all that. Becomes very green, with a feeling of ‘eating Japanese mocha tea by the spoon’, before more very acid grapefruits and lime join in the dancing. All that is coated with a little honey but the tartness would never leave. Finish: long, sharp, green, limy. Comments: an unusual zesty and sharp Tormore. SGP:361 - 81 points.

Good, let’s try to find a much older ‘T’ as the digestif. Is this whiskyfun or what?

Tomatin 1977/1998 (56%, Moon Import, Horae Solaris, 820 bottles)

Tomatin 1977/1998 (56%, Moon Import, Horae Solaris, 820 bottles) Four stars and a half “Le Bonheur, c’est l’heure de boire”. In other words, “Happiness comes when it’s time to drink”. Not too sure about that, but I remember Moon’s and Samaroli’s bottlings used to be ‘the’ dream bottles at the time… Colour: dark gold. Nose: this explains why these were dream bottles. It’s full of Italian eleganzia, with nothing standing out and just myriads of complex resinous, fruity and even phenolic notes. Phenols in Tomatin! So imagine Barbour grease associated with mangos, butter cream with menthol cigarettes, passion fruits with old books, and lemongrass with ink and limestone. Yes, that works! With water: nope, water doesn’t work, it makes it flat and too cardboardy/tea-ish. A bad swimmer, I’m afraid. Mouth (neat): exceptional. An avalanche of tropical fruits (passion, mangos, tangerines…) but also very fine notes of aniseed, dill, chives, ink, sage, coriander… Really superb, with a great oily mouth feel. With water: this time water works, even if it gets strangely medicinal. Oils from the wood coming out, such as eucalyptus oil, some pinesap. The good news is that the fantastico tropical notes have remained there. Finish: long, zesty, limy. All good, even with water. Comments: I was ready to go to 90+ until water wrecked the nose. In any case, a very lovely bottle! SGP:651 - 89 points.


Pete McPeat and Jack Washback







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