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

July 3, 2017


More fun with Tomatin

Always a thrill to taste Tomatin, a malt that’s never too difficult, always pleasant, and sometimes just brilliant. That’s why we taste quite a lot of Tomatin at WF Towers…

Tomatin 18 yo (46%, OB, oloroso sherry casks, +/-2016)

Tomatin 18 yo (46%, OB, oloroso sherry casks, +/-2016) Four stars We last tried the 18 in 2009 (WF 85), this one comes in the new, fairly premiumised livery. Colour: gold. Nose: there sure is a little sherry (raisins and leather) but Tomatin’s emblematic fruitiness is well there, with ripe gooseberries, red apples, some nectar, and touches of mead. Hints of ale as well, malt, Belgian Kriek beer (cherries)… All is well in this nose. Mouth: solid arrival, a tad leathery again, with a little tobacco, then blood oranges, then rather dried figs and black raisins. A very nice honeyness coats the whole. Finish: medium, with a few acidic fruits (rhubarb, goosberries) that are cleansing your palate. A little burnt cake in the aftertaste. Comments: really very very good. It’s an easy dram, but it certainly isn’t simple. One could drink a lot of this. SGP:551 - 86 points.

Tomatin 38 yo 1976/2015 (46.7%, OB, oloroso sherry butt, decanter, cask #30132, 680 bottles)

Tomatin 38 yo 1976/2015 (46.7%, OB, oloroso sherry butt, decanter, cask #30132, 680 bottles) Four stars and a half1976, what could go wrong? In theory, those years were more ‘tropical’ as far as fruitiness and Tomatin were concerned, let’s see. Colour: gold. Nose: you could think it’s a Benriach 1976. A perfect  ueberfruity start, full of bananas and pineapples, as well as the anticipated mangos and passion fruits. Behind that, notes of peaches that remind us of some fresh old Cognacs, and the subtlest honeyed development. Many different honeys, actually. The sherry doesn’t show any sign of life, much better like that in this kind of case. If you ask me. Mouth: there is a little gritty oak (cocoa) but other than that, this is a maelstrom of pineapples, mangos, guavas, pomegranates, prickly pears, and more bananas. It’s very demonstrative, very sexy, and almost a little in-your-face. Lovable anyway, we’ve just had some subtler old Tomatins. Finish: medium, very banana-y. Some mead in the aftertaste, which was already to be found in the 18. Pepper in the aftertaste, that’s the oak. Comments: brilliant, almost 90-material in my book. It’s just a little, yeah, in-your-face. SGP:751 - 89 points.

Good, those were newish bottlings, let’s try to find some wee antiques… Perhaps another, younger 1976?

Tomatin 19 yo 1976/1996 (55.9%, Cadenhead, Authentic Collection)

Tomatin 19 yo 1976/1996 (55.9%, Cadenhead, Authentic Collection) Five stars There used to be some brilliant rocket fuel in this ‘small cream label’ series… St Magdalene or Port Ellen 10/11/12 yo anyone? Colour: white wine. Nose: shall we say uebercitric? Crushed limestone diluted in lemon juice, plus touches of fresh leaven and porridge. After all, this is some cereal-based drink. With water: no changes. Or perhaps a little more menthol, but that’s not mental (what?) Mouth (neat): brilliant! Strong lemon liqueur, more chalk, touches of pineapple just like in the 38 yo, and some fennel and dill. Wonderfully zesty and ‘nervous’, but don’t expect much passion fruit or mango. With water: loves water. Perfect sauvignony development, white peaches, gooseberries, greengages, lemon… And chalk. Pouilly-Fumé made in Scotland. Finish: long and, this time rather more tropical. Banana liqueur and guavas, but without any dull sweetness. Comments: almost exceptional. Gotta love these x-fill casks that let the spirit do the talking. SGP:661 - 90 points.

Good, let’s have one that was bottled, not distilled, in 1976.

Tomatin 12 yo 1964 (99° UK proof, OB, first millionth gallon, cask #8552, 26 2/3 fl.oz., +/-1976)

Tomatin 12 yo 1964 (99° UK proof, OB, first millionth gallon, cask #8552, 26 2/3 fl.oz., +/-1976) Three stars An extremely rare official single cask of Tomatin, bottled to celebrate the first millionth gallon produced by a single distillery in one season. Ask Roseisle or Ailsa Bay what they think… BTW, 99 proof means 56.5%. Why they didn’t go to 100 proof, I don’t know. Colour: gold. Nose: different, very different. Starts with clear notes of bicycle inner tube and new scuba diving suit (so yeah, rubber, or perhaps even cork) and rather goes on with mead, sweet ale, and peanut cake. In truth there is something sulphury, but nothing rotten or eggy. With water: wait wait wait… cinnamon cake? Artichokes? It’s still rather rubbery, but that’s a different kind of rubber. Mouth (neat): really unusual. Coconut and pineapple at first, rum, touches of late harvest gewurz (litchis, roses), then even more coconut (balls) and touches of Timut pepper. Perhaps even wild strawberries. With water: there’s a wee meatiness ala old Mortlach, not often to be found at Tomatin’s. Seville oranges as well. Finish: long, rather on, well, rubbery oranges. Comments: right, this one’s very ‘different’, whatever that means. Say singular. Far from perfect in my book, but it’s got its charms, and mind you, one million LPAs in one single season. Remember, it was 1976. SGP:362 - 80 points.

(Thank you Phil and Simon von Dornoch)

More tasting notes Check the index of all Tomatin I've tasted so far






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