For those of you who don’t follow whisky news, or do but have been living under a rock:
Tomatin is quickly becoming one of the cooler distilleries out there. I said it a while ago, and I’ll say it again. Keep an eye on those guys.
Their newest release includes two sherry finished whiskies at cask strength, each accompanied by the exact sherry that came from the cask before the whisky was put in. In this case a 30 year old Oloroso and a 20 year old Pedro Ximénez. Not sure how I’m going to get both of these with the current spending stop… (please check this page).
Anyway, before that there was the Cuatro series, in which the finished the ‘same’ whisky in four different kinds of sherry casks. Then there was this Contrast box. A blend of old and young whiskies (much like the Balvenie Tun 1409 series) either matured in bourbon casks or sherry casks.
I wanted those, I bottle shared those. I like the concept, and I like whisky geekery. The casks for each part of the Contrast box came from:
|1973||2 hogsheads||1 butt|
|1977||2 barrels||1 butt|
|1988||3 hogsheads||1 butt|
|1991||2 barrels||1 butt|
|2002||4 barrels||1 butt|
|2006||2 barrels||1 butt|
Obviously there need to be more hoggies and barrels than butts. Butts contain 500 liters of whisky, and hogsheads and barrels from 190 to 250, more or less. (Table ripped shamelessly from Ben Cops’ blog)
Tomatin Contrast Bourbon matured, 46%
Light and fruity bourbon cask, quite clear. I get apple and pineapple, some white oak and a very light hint of pepper. Lime, slightly drying and cotton. Also twigs and dried leaves.
The palate is crisp with oak, and it tasted very fresh (as in, not old and woody). Slightly spirity even. Dry, cotton and the fruit is a bit late to the party. Lots of it though, fresh pineapple and dried pineapple. Also apple and pear.
The finish veers slightly towards more spices. Some heather and white pepper, and therefore drier. Less fruit.
Tomatin Contrast Sherry matured, 46%
The sherry matured version is darker and slightly warmer on the nose. Oiled leather, but also dry and spicy. ‘Ontbijtkoek’, baking spices and oak. Plums and milk chocolate.
The palate is slightly drying with a hint of chili pepper. Oak and sweet dried fruits. Plums, chocolate. It becomes a tad sharper after a few seconds of ‘swimming’. Rich, spicy sherry and even a tad of sulfur. In a good way that is. Dates too.
The finish is sweet and gentle with great balance. Spices and fruit with caramel and chocolate.
Let’s start with: They’re both awesome. The sherry matured on is quite different from the bourbon one, and that’s quite great to show the differences between one type of oak (and previous content) compared to the other.
Their individual balance is great too. The sherry shows the typical dried fruits and baking spices, where the bourbon casks go more towards lighter, fresh fruits and cooking spices. The cotton in that one is a note I’ve not found often before.
Because it was a share I only had 5cl of each, but they only lasted one day since after tasting them I finished them both right away.
My favorite one is the bourbon matured. That shows the pineapple flavors that tickle my fancy at the moment, with nice hints of pepper and oak. The lime flavor was nice too and it didn’t even get to smell and taste like washing up liquid (which happens quite often with lime and alcohol combined).
Great stuff by Tomatin. Now to figure out how to do those sherry/whisky combinations. I feel another bottle share coming up!
Tomatin Contrast box set, 2 x 35cl, 46%. Available in some shops for about € 130