Hidden away in The Glenlivet Estate near the highest town in the Highlands, Tomintoul, in the heart of Speyside, this relatively new distillery (built in 1964) on the banks of the River Avon (pronounced A’an) has been a big hit with shoppers to Inverurie Whisky Shop, and remains a strong performer with its Core Range of Tlath, 10 and 16 Year Old Expressions. But they are much, much more than that…
Known as the “Gentle Dram”, Tomintoul ticks most boxes. It is approachable, smooth and, well, gentle. It has a mellow and creamy style which makes it a great present for those unsure of what the recipient will like, and it very rarely disappoints. They also have some tremendous finishes as well. Their 12-Year-Old Oloroso Finish is a delight and their 15-Year-Old Port Finish is quite possibly my favourite Port finished whisky release for some time.
Not content with being stuck in the “Safe Zone” however, Master Distiller Robert Fleming, himself a fourth generation whisky maker, has been delving into his warehouses to select some really robust, unique and, above all, tasty whisky for this latest release of Single Cask whiskies. Every one is different, but all showing the delicate quality that Robert has honed over thirty years of working at Tomintoul.
18 Year Old First Fill Bourbon Barrel 2000 (237 Bottles)
Sweet butter-cream icing, lemon zest with a touch of pink peppercorn spice on the nose which leads nicely to the taste. Custard Cream biscuits dipped into lemon curd is the best way I can describe this. Quite malty, lots going on, the creamy texture sticks to the palate
and allows a salivating sappiness to take over, adding zest lemon notes, a sherbet tang and almonds. On the bottle it describes “Complex yet light” I know exactly what they mean. The citrus notes stick around and some buttered toast also comes in at the end in what is a very enjoyable dram.
17 Year Old Pedro Ximenez Sherry Butt 2001 (625 Bottles)
The release of the trio I was most looking forward to, being a sherry cask fan and all. It does not disappoint. One of those drams that really tastes like it smells with copious amounts of traditional Sherry cask aroma’s going on. Christmas cake is the obvious one, raisins, nutmeg, cinnamon and orange peel. Some
marzipan tang and hints of the creamy, vanilla light notes pop up with a drop of water. A dry, sapping finish comes in with a little time and the cinnamon spice lingers before melting into ginger and oak. What a well-balanced delight!
13 Year Old First Fill Bourbon Barrel 2005 (248 Bottles)
The youngest of the three and in a side by side tasting this is quite obvious. Those buttery notes from the 2000 release are there with that sweet creamy nose also. Subtle notes of fresh hay gives the immaturity (in comparison) away – this is no bad thing, still a lovely, lovely aroma. To taste this epitomises Speyside Bourbon. Creamy, buttery notes, vanilla, butterscotch, maltose, subtle cinnamon and all-spice. The finish has a firey kick neat, a testament to its 62.1% ABV. This disappears with a splash of water and becomes very mellow, soft and melt-away. A very decent dram indeed.
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