Origin: Highlands (Scotland)
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Ageing barrels: Ex-Bourbon refill and ex-Sherry Oloroso first fill
Added coloring: No
Owner: Takara Shuzo Corp.
Average price: € 74.00
Official website: www.tomatin.com
Eighteen years of age evokes the idea of maturity, of the passage to adult life, in which (theoretically) one has to take on a whole series of rights/duties, saying goodbye to the carefree life of adolescence.
In whiskies, where the concept of age is entirely relative, this isn’t always the case, although psychologically it’s a threshold of ageing that has a certain hold on the consumer, as if it were a watershed between young and mature whiskies.
The less than casual drinker knows how advanced ageing is in no way a guarantee of quality, as he also knows that a bottle without declared ageing (so-called NAS) can be a real gem.
Here I tackle Tomatin’s 18-year-old, in the new design introduced in 2016, the last with declared ageing available to me, to be followed by the NAS in the core portfolio (Cask Strength, Fire and Legacy).
Deep gold in the glass.
On the nose it is sweet and fresh, with a slight herbaceous profile counterpointing a profusion of ripe fruit (pineapple, peach, pear, plum), sultanas infused in alcohol, Galatina, cinnamon. In the background, a woody caress (watch out for splinters). Sweet but not pandering.
The palate is interesting, with the sweetness of the fruit flanked by a hint of bitterness, liquorice and aniseed, which together with chocolate, hazelnuts and, ça va sans dire, cinnamon, adds depth to the dram. The wood becomes more present, bordering on invasive but managing to stay just a step behind, drying the tongue. A certain floral freshness remains, though largely in the background.
The finish is medium-long, with wood, anise, hazelnuts and sultanas.
The bitterish side I admit is a bit unsettling, and to some it might turn their nose up, while for me it’s what gave this whisky an extra gear, making it varied and fun: the Sherry finishes tend to all look a bit alike, while here the wood has contributed to giving it three dimensions.
We’re right on the edge, one more push and it would have fallen apart (so, more than ever, let’s go with personal feeling), but for me it’s promoted.