ABV: 50.2% Distillery: Tomatin Bottler: Scotch Malt Whisky Society Flavour Profile: Old & dignified Region: HighlandsAge: 31
The oldest Society bottling of Tomatin to date. Laid down in a refill ex-bourbon hogshead in June of 1988 and bottled 31 years later.
Nose: Intensive and expressively elegant. We’re off to a good start. Roasted pineapple and papaya chunks are served with a rich chocolate ganache, sugar-dusted bon bons and asides of cloves and flambé orange peels. The dunnage influence is palpable here – wet, whisky soaked casks sitting on earthen floors together with old bookcases packed full ancient leather-bound tombs. Water expresses nutty qualities – almost as if this was sherry matured (it wasn’t) – maple with raisins, part-baked oven rolls and golden syrup spread over toast.
Taste: Still rather glorious. Boozy, polished fruits – mango, papaya, dark berries and cherries sit with tinderboxes, cigar leaves and leather-bound mahogany sofas. The back-palate is sweeter with a kick of soft brown sugar whilst Liquorice Allsorts are dusted in powered ginger and served with chopped walnuts and torn lemon balm leaves. Old, austere oak runs throughout – parquet flooring and wood panelled walls. Reduction brings the oak forward in the mouth, whilst adding tartness to the fruit complement – lime drizzled pineapple and mangos – sharp, but still juicy.
Finish: Medium to long with chocolate shavings and crystalline ginger tempered by a touch of sour cherry.
An elegant and expansive Tomatin that has been well served by refill ex-bourbon. Fruit-forward and offering just the right level of vivacity to play off neatly against the profound, sophisticated old oak. All rather indulgent and opulent. As well it should be – at £295 this is just as expensive as the OB Tomatin 30 year old. I’m not sure the offer of a “free gift carton” will tip anyone over the edge – but on liquid quality alone this is quite excellent and therefore pick of the month.
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