As always our club bottled a cask of whisky earlier this year. 40 members gathered in Abcoude, near Amsterdam, to participate in a tasting hosted by Scott Adamson of Tomatin Distillery. He guided us through the tasting of four different cask samples, of which the general consensus was that everybody would be happy with either one of them except one.
The whisky was drawn from cask 35281, and as Scott told us a cask number of five digits indicates a finishing cask. In this case the first seven years of maturation were done in a refill bourbon cask, after which the whisky was transferred to a 1st Fill Bourbon Barrel for the last four years.
Unfortunately for the club, but lucky for everybody else, it’s still available!
The nose starts off with a light vanilla scent. Not only the vanilla is light but the other aromas are too. Oak, some spices and a hint of pepper. Some herbs with a quite green background. Very strong with lots of alcohol. The light spirit of Tomatin with a lot of bourbon cask.
The palate is really sharp too, so there’s room for a drop of water, or some long airing. It’s dry with fresh oak and apple. Some dried leafy herbs. A hint of vanilla and sweet caramel towards the end.
The finish is somewhat lighter on the bourbon cask, so slightly more spirity. Dry with herbs, apple and a tiny hint of bitterness towards the end. There’s some vanilla present too.
What I really like about this cask is that it’s clearly a bourbon cask, but it’s not just vanilla on the palate. There’s enough of Tomatin’s spirit left to make this far less generic than some whiskies out there. The combination of apples and dried herbs is quite nice, and the green-ness is also kept in check.
All in all, I find this a very enjoyable dram. It’s not the most complex whisky, but it’s well balanced, and there’s enough different flavors and scents to keep you busy. I think we picked this one well.
Tomatin 2004-2016, 11yo, First Fill Bourbon Barrel 35281, 60%, OB for the Usquebaugh Society. It’s still available for 68 euros here.