At The Whisky Exchange show back in 2012 I came across Tomatin for the first time. I was impressed with both the line-up and the freshness of the older expressions – notably the 30-year old.
So, when recently my friend Steve Prentice from Somerset Whisky Blog said he’d won a competition with Tomatin – in which he had to nominate someone else that he’d share a dram from the company with – and said that I was the friend he’d chosen, I was well chuffed as it meant getting a sample of both the 14-year old and the 1988.
I’ve finally had a chance to sit down on a hot summer’s afternoon and try both of these releases. The 14-year old has been finished in port casks (something you could see immediately when it was poured into the glass as both the whisky and the reflection was rosy pink), while the 1988 comes from a combination of ex-bourbon and ex-port casks married together. Each has been released this year as an addition to the core line-up, replacing the 15 year old and the 30-year old.
Here’s what I thought about both of them.
Tomatin 14: Port Cask Finish: 46%: £49:
(c): Rose Turkish delight
(n): Orange blossom water, medium dark chocolate, vanilla, quite floral, nicely punchy but then really very sweet – honey drenched fruit; actually hits the back of throat with sweetness.
(p): Wine-led, quite sweet at first but with some earthy, chocolate notes. Gets sweeter the longer it’s held on the palate – lots of honey, dried figs, warm hay/cereal, reduced Port – sticky.
(f): Cigarettes and figs – an earthiness that translates to smoke.
In conclusion: A bold punchy whisky that’s very sweet – a proper pudding dram. Couldn’t have too much in one go as it is quite concentrated but very pleasant still.
Tomatin 1988: 46%: £160:
(n): Buttery, smoky tropical fruit – coconut and linseed oil; shoe polish, beeswax, fresh pears and marzipan. With water: slightly more floral.
(p): Lovely, fruity sweetness – bit of pepper, white fruits (peaches), fresh grass, green apples. With water: builds a lot of character – becomes fruitier with a hint of Sweet Tart candies.
(f): Long finish – sour/fermenting apples. With water: lavender and some smoke.
In conclusion: Pleasant, complex. Prefer balance on this to the 14-year old. Very drinkable, though quite sweet. Nice smoky edge.