Distillery Focus: Tomatin (Part 2)

Here is the promised tasting from the Tomatin Distillery Focus feature. Myself and Chris sampled three different Tomatins (continuing the EWB policy of not relying on a single nose wherever possible), and our tasting notes and thoughts are presented below.

12 Years Old

tomatin_12Nose: I went for violets and refresher sweets (apologies if our foreign readers haven’t come across those, a kind of sugary fizzy candy!). Nice and light on one hand, but it wasn’t one dimensional. There was a very faint smoke there accompanied by a little leather. Chris went for more fruity notes, picking up on citrus, hard candy, foam bananas and Chewits (we should really stop referring to British sweets…). He also found a little bit of oil, chiming in with the smoke and leather.

Palate: I struggled to define the palate, it felt a little indistinct. I eventually settled on mint toffee and after eights, though it was a little sweeter than I had expected from the nose. Chris went for sweet apples and grass with a little oak. Very outdoorsy!

Finish: Both of us went for a little smoke on the finish, very faint and delicate. Chris felt that his citrus reappeared after a while, especially when water was added.

15 Years Old

tomatin_15Nose: I was shocked by the difference. A lot of citrus, notes of very fresh orange juice. Really zesty, seemed much more lively than the 12. For once myself and Chris found our noses in close agreement – he homed in on Grand Marnier notes (a bitter orange and cognac liqueur in case you don’t know!) along with pear and orange cake (if that exists…).

Palate: I felt it seemed a little sharper than the 12 at first, the citrus was very strong. A healthy dose of vanilla and a little bit of that familiar leather feel from the 12. Chris felt that the leather was much stronger, that it ‘crashed through’ the more delicate flavours. He felt a little bit of water tamed that side of things and brought out banana and vanilla.

Finish: I thoroughly enjoyed this finish, all strawberries and cream (the sweet rather than the Wimbledon dessert) with citrus sorbet. Chris felt the finish recalled the 12, again with the sweetness balanced by peat smoke.

18 Years Old

tomatin_18Nose: It seemed noticeably heavier to me. In our Distillery Focus feature Tomatin themselves said the 18 year old is supposed to be heavily sherried whisky and it shows. A thick fruit yoghurt (blackberries and cherries) expressed it best for me. Chris found it a bit lighter, highlighting white chocolate, honey, pear and peaches.

Palate: Both of us agreed that it had lost the zest of the 15 year old, and that it felt much more mature. That leather note that we had both encountered before was reduced, the sherry influence shining through. Chris emphasised that his honey note carried over from the nose, I went with that touch of bitterness from very dark chocolate.

Finish: I was disappointed here, I felt that it fell a little flat. A sherry notes lingered on, leaving quite a dry taste. Chris continued with the sweeter theme, picking up chocolate caramels.

Well those are our opinions – obviously these are complex whiskies, which Chris and I quite often picking up and emphasising very different notes. When it came to choosing the pick of the bunch though, both of us hung our hats on the new fifteen year old. You can see that we both enjoyed the lighter taste, but we felt it was the more well rounded of the three and clearly a fine addition to the range. If you have tried it let us know what you thought – if you haven’t, then get involved! Go out and taste it and then come back and chuck in your two cents.


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