When this came out I was planning a trip to Scotland with a couple of friends for the end of 2015. Also, Tomatin was suddenly widely available with some really good bottlings, so I decided to pick one up. What helped is that The Whisky Agency is a very good bottler with above average results in what they release.
I never did a write up of that visit to Tomatin, because the Usquebaugh Society chose a Tomatin as their next club bottling in early 2016, and I did a write up in the club magazine. I might translate it at some point and put it on the blog…
So, a fairly random 1997 Tomatin, at 17 years old. It was drawn from a refill hogshead, which I consider to be, in general, quite a good way of maturing whisky. It it not too intense, which means the spirit gets some room to shine. It’s also not too flat so you’re not drinking 17 year old new make. Luckily, Tomatin has a very nice vegetal spirit that can take a beating.
I emptied the bottle last Maltstock, except for the sample I am emptying tonight. So, a bit of live blogging here, that also gets me a bit closer to my goal of emptying loads (half, at least) of the things I’ve amassed over the last few years.
Some barley sugar and malty sweetness. A bit vegetal, like expected. Some hay, ferns, slightly green with some moss and algae. You know, the north side of a tree in the northern hemisphere. Almost no oak, although the spirit is quite tamed. All typical for a refill hogshead.
Quite sharp, even though it’s ‘just’ a 51% whisky. Dry, grainy notes. Freshly fallen leaves, forest floor, a bit of oak. A bit sweeter than I expected initially, even though the sweetness was there on the nose too. So, green with a lot of grain. Typically Tomatin.
The finish is a bit warmer than the palate made me expect. Still some sweetness but it’s a bit more woody and goes in the direction of cooked apples, some baking spices, bread and butter pudding. Not overly long.
So, this is absolutely not a bad whisky. It’s maybe a bit predictable, although there’s enough happening to keep one interested for a while. I think to go through an entire bottle is a bit much, but it’s far from bland.
A typical Tomatin, albeit a bit generic and one that does not stand out from any other 12 to 20 year old single cask, in my opinion. Enjoyable and not something you’ll regret, but not remarkable either.
Maybe not surprisingly, it’s still for sale for some € 100
Tomatin 17yo, 1997-2014, Refill Hogshead, 51%, The Whisky Agency / Liquid Library