The Single Cask: Heaven Hill, Tormore & Tobermory

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I imagine, well-learned readers, that you’ll have heard of The Single Cask, an independent bottler which specialises in releasing… err… single cask whiskies. The company was founded by Ben Curtis, who started out distributing products for a number of brands in Asia before moving into bottling his own whiskies. Nowadays, as well as bottling incredible single cask whiskies, The Single Cask also specialises in cask brokering, bespoke bottling and labelling, and cask consultancy.

I’ve tasted a few releases from The Single Cask over the years, and aside from thoroughly enjoying the whiskies, I also really like that they showcase lesser known distilleries, such as Macduff, Glentauchers, Strathmill, and Mannochmore amongst others. These distilleries are integral cogs in the huge blending machine when it comes to producing fills for blends, but rarely do they get to strut their stuff as a single malt in their own right.

In front of me are four new(ish) whiskies from The Single Cask – a 2009 Heaven Hill 10yo, a 1995 Tormore 23yo, and pair of 1995 Tobermory casks, aged 23 and 24 years old. Let’s dive in.

Heaven Hill 2009 10yo
The Single Cask
Cask #152724
130 bottles
62.5% ABV
£75 here

Nose: Takes time to settle in the glass (which is unsurprising given the ABV), but once it does there’s a minty note to begin, then toffee popcorn, Belgian waffles, caramel syrup, rye bread, and toasted vanilla pods.

Palate: Initially quite spicy and drying, with mustard seed, horseradish, fennel, and thick oak. Then toffee apples, orange marmalade, malt biscuits, and overdone toast.

Finish: Chewy oak, toffee pennies, and banana fritters.

Tormore 1995 23yo
The Single Cask
Cask #20095A
102 bottles
53.2% ABV
£129 here

Nose: Rich honey, stewed apricot and plum, Crunchie bars, beeswax, Danish pastries, and buttered fruit scone. Some tropical fruits lurk in the background.

Palate: Cranberry, red currants, hot cross buns, sherry trifle, and macerated cherries. Then some pecan nuts and sweet leathery notes come through with faint Blackjack sweets.

Finish: Dried fruits, some dark chocolate, tea leaf and a lick of oak.

Tobermory 1995 23yo
The Single Cask
Cask #1201
161 bottles
54.2% ABV
£145 here

Nose: Rather coastal initially, with salted caramel and salted popcorn. Then a real sweetness with lime peel, mango, melon, Dolly Mixtures and vanilla icing sugar.

Palate: Juicy tropical fruits hit first, with pineapple, lychee, melon and very creamy vanilla. Then there’s honeycomb and sweet coconut, along with a touch of nutmeg spice.

Finish: Juicy Fruit gum, vanilla Angel Delight, and a restrained oakiness.

Tobermory 1995 24yo
The Single Cask
Cask #329
247 bottles
54% ABV
£145 here

Nose: Really quite floral, with violets, jasmine, floral honey, old potpourri, and apple scented soap. There’s sweet cashew nuts, custard cream biscuits, and gentle oak too.

Palate: Fruit teas, a touch of salted lime, then overripe lemon, banana bread, and buttered croissants. Some cinnamon and oak underpin things.

Finish: Light citrus and a sweet nuttiness, are balanced with some charred cask stave.

Overall: That was quite a tasting session. The Heaven Hill, as with most aged bourbons I find, was a bit too woody, spicy, and drying for me, but those who love their bourbons will really enjoy it. The Tormore and the pair of Tobermory casks were a delight – the Tormore is rich, fruity, and earthy, the younger Tobermory is coastal and fruity, whereas the older one is more floral with savoury notes. And a note on the price too; all these whiskies are very good value when you consider the age and quality of the liquids. This led me to look at other bottlings available on The Single Cask’s website, and there’s quite a few I’m keen to try. Sampling several of them isn’t gonna break the bank either – a number of whiskies are for sale in 10cl bottles so you don’t have to go the whole hog and buy a 70cl bottle. Nice.

 

 

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