...where distraction is the main attraction.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Single Malt Report: Tomatin 30 year old (2014)

It's been Tomatin Week here at Diving for Pearls.  On Monday, I wrote about the distillery's Single Cask Experience tour.  On Wednesday, I reviewed their current 14 year old Port Cask finished single malt.  I reported on Tomatin's first batch of NAS Cask Strength whisky yesterday.  Today, I'm closing it out with the final batch of their ol' 30 year old.

Tomatin had a 25 year old in their regular range for a number of years.  Then they slipped in a 30 year old 1976 (49.3%abv).  Next they replaced them both with a 30 year old (46%abv).  Finally, in 2015, they ditched the 30 year old for a 36 year old "Small Batch Release" which has itself a fancy bottle and 3x higher price.

Regarding the previous sentence, here are three possible responses:
1.) Like everyone else Tomatin was running short on old stock so their figurative hand was forced.
2.) Everyone else had been taking advantage of the ultra-premium spiffy-packaging luxury market, so Tomatin would have been missing out on some excellent revenue by not doing the same.
3.) I'm switching to beer.

I liked the 30 year a lot, it's hot as hell out here right now, and I have no money invested in liquor companies so you may guess which of those three responses I relate to.  Now, onto The Thirty!

Distillery: Tomatin
Ownership: Tomatin Distillery Co.
Region: Highlands (near Inverness)
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Age: minimum 30 years
Maturation: ex-bourbon and ex-sherry casks
Bottling year: 2014
Alcohol by Volume: 46%
Chillfiltered? No
Caramel Colored? Probably not
(Sample obtained from OCSC at our reboot event 13 months ago.)

Its color is a very light gold.  The nose has the very old Tomatin fruity notes I adore.  Mango, loquats, honeydew, and good in-season oranges (you know, the good kind).  Some nice wood spice in there.  Some lychee candy, a hint of bubblegum, and some sort of orange-y honey.  The light but flavo(u)rful palate leads with lychees, peach candy, Juicy Fruit gum, and lovely bitter nip that balances out the sweetness.  Pleasantly musty oak and sweet malt underneath.  With 30+ minutes of air, orange candy, toffee, and lime lollipops find their way in.  All that fruit stays for the finish.  Low levels of aromatic oak, oak spice, and citric tartness linger through.  The bitter nip becomes a bite.  Some bubblegum, lime, and mint.  It's gentle but persistent.

Something about this whisky reminded me of the '68 Caperdonich I'd tried in Japan last year.  I think the noses were similar with all of that fine fruit, while the palates and finishes couldn't keep up.  I'd take this whisky over that Caperdonich because the Tomatin's nose is better, and the palate is still very satisfying.  But I will say it's a good thing they bottled the 30yo at 46%abv.  It's so light and fragile at that strength, it would (like the 33yo official Tomintoul) vanish at 40% or 43%.  As wonderful as the nose is, that fragility, which turns into occasional thinness, in the mouth keeps it from being a 90+ whisky.  But it's still very good and something I'd love to drink again if I could.

Availability - A couple dozen retailers in the US and Europe
Pricing - $250-$400
Rating - 89