Tomatin 1970 G&M

Tomatin Distillery

Something a bit different today – a Tomatin distilled in 1970 and bottled by Gordon & MacPhail as part of their Connoisseurs Choice range sometime in the mid-1980s (judging by the brown and cream label design). I visited Tomatin distillery with The Drinks Lady last year and found it a really informative experience. For example, it’s the first time I’ve been *inside* a mash tun; the distillery replaced their tun a few years ago and the old one has not only been kept, but it’s been surgically dissected in such a way so you can get right inside and see all the juicy craftsmanship. Riveting stuff. Literally.

Back to the whisky. It was picked up by The Drinks Lady as part of a job lot at auction sometime last year for next-to-nothing along with a Balvenie Founders Reserve (the one from the 1980s in the cognac shaped bottle) and a 1984 Clynelish as well as a few other bits and pieces. She very kindly cracked it open in the name of ‘research’… so let’s give it a whirl.

Tomatin 1970
Connoisseurs Choice b.1980s
Gordon & MacPhail
40% ABV

Nose: Pepperminty and herbal initially, before a real waxiness comes through, with loads of boot polish. Then flambéed bananas, mango, over ripe pineapple, and grated coconut. Underneath there’s sandalwood, soft cinnamon, hessian, hemp oil, mulchy autumn leaves and the faint whiff of Chesterfield armchair.

Palate: Remarkably waxy – church candles and waxed cricket bat – then toasted vanilla pods muscovado sugar and manuka honey, before the fruit comes through; ripe figs, plum jam, thick cut orange marmalade, and peaches in syrup. Finally, there’s charred twigs, a little earthy sweetness and the vaguest hint of herbal peat.

Finish: Lingering clove and nutmeg are joined by some currants, black tea and unlit cigar.

Overall: Oft. They don’t make them like this anymore. I was surprised at just how textural this whisky was, with a mouthcoating waxiness enveloping all the fruit and wood influence. It’s packed full of flavour, which is quite surprising given its on-the-limit 40% alcohol level. Judging by the style of Connoisseurs Choice label, this looks to have been bottled sometime in the mid-1980s, meaning the liquid is around 15 years old, give or take two or three of years. Delicious stuff. Whisky from a quite different era.




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