Honestly, when this came in the mail I wasn’t too enthusiastic about it. A 4 or 5 year old Tomatin from a first fill sherry casks. That almost sounds like it’s just some over-fortified sherry in itself, right?
Also, I don’t have much experience with Skene Whisky, as they’re not available in The Netherlands, and the only sample I got from them before was a 1988 Blended Malt whisky, so something completely different from what this is.
Yesterday I decided it was time to dive in when the entire family was getting a COVID-19 test and I had a quiet moment to myself.
Obviously it is very spirity with a lot of grain alcohol at first. It’s not too sweet, even though new make generally is sweet and first fill sherry casks add more of that. Strangely, there isn’t too much cask influence. You get some dried fruits and a bit of spice that’s not spirit driven, but otherwise it’s the rich sweetness of the new make, mostly.
The palate is a bit more dry with a lot of grainy, porridgy spirit. Tropical fruits with oloroso spiciness. Cherry stones, ground almonds, mango and a whiff of clove.
The finish brings a little bit of heat from the spirit itself. Some bitter and fruity oloroso hints. It does stay true to the new make, though.
This is a very strange whisky. It’s just over the hill of being allowed to be called whisky in the first place, but even so. Normally, when a whisky is bottled this young, the oak influence is far more noticeable and that’s why it was bottled that young. I don’t think that’s the case for this one.
It’s remarkably spirity, and I would have believed it if this was just one year old spirit instead of four years old.
However, having said all that, I actually like this very much. Generally I’m not a huge fan of new make spirit, although it’s fun to try when visiting a distillery. In this case it’s very close to that, but with just enough other flavors from the oloroso cask to be a lot more interesting.
Although, because of it’s spiritiness it stays very true to Tomatin’s product, straight out of the distillery. So yes, I do very much like this. Of course it doesn’t have the complexity of an 18 year old whisky, and it is a tad on the sweet side, it has a lot to offer and is a completely different approach to modern whisky.
Available in the UK for £ 35. I would buy one if I could get it here.
Thanks to Skene for the sample!