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Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Tormore 14 year old Connoisseurs Choice

As I mention in nearly every review of a Gordon & MacPhail whisky, I appreciate the pre-2018 Connoisseurs Choice range more than I actually enjoy its whiskies. For nearly two decades it offered lesser-seen single malts at reasonable prices, unfortunately the results were rarely interesting. This was partially due to low abvs, 40% then 43%, but even after it moved 46%abv I didn't find a CC whisky I actually enjoyed. This was also wasn't due to the quality of blander blendier distilleries, as a 46% sherry cask Caol Ila demonstrates. One wonders if the casks are the culprits. I have no problem with milder, almost-neutral casks, but there's a dullness to so many of the CC whiskies that perhaps their wooden vessels tended to be (figuratively) flat.

With that in mind, here's a Tormore aged in first-fill bourbon barrels. Who woulda thunk it?

Distillery: Tormore
Ownership: Chivas Brothers (Pernod Ricard)
Region: Morayshire, Speyside
Bottler: Gordon & MacPhail
Range: Connoisseurs Choice
Age: minimum 14 years old
Maturation: first fill bourbon barrels
Alcohol by Volume: 46%
Chillfiltered? No
Colored? No
(from a bottle split)


The nose begins bready and minty, with small notes of walnuts, figs and dried grass clippings. Some dried lavender and thyme. Some apple peels. There's something mossy and organic in the background, but it isn't quite peat or smoke. The palate immediately offers the caramel and vanilla cream combo that always reminds me of Cow Tales candy. At the same time it's very malty in a Westland way. Some barrel-aged stout. Then a bit of bitterness and a few limes. It finishes with a peppery heat, some vanilla and malt (in that order). Chocolate stout, dried oregano and a mild bitterness.


This shows an oak wallop surprising for this series, though it never gets out of hand because the whisky maltiness grounds the palate. Heck, it's probably one of the most loudest pre-2018 Connoisseurs Choice whiskies I've had. It's also neither particularly complex nor interesting after the second sip. So the casks are probably not the problem this time. Again, one can see why this Tormore would be a good base for a blend, as one builds a better whisky on top of it. Yet one can find many worse single malts from sexier distilleries, even within CC's range.

Availability - Possibly in the US? Though possibly sold out.
Pricing - ???
Rating - 81