Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Malt Mission 2007 #123

Tomatin 12 yo
Speyside Single Malt Whisky
40% abv

Oh, the poor letter 'T'. I have heard it mumbled among whisky nerds that there are no good whiskies that start with the letter 'T', save Talisker. Can it be true?

Taking its name from tha gaelic for "hill of the juniper", Tomatin has been a quite workhorse for many years. By 1973 there were 23(!) working stills and a capacity of 12 million litres of spirit per year. It was the biggest distillery in Scotland for over a decade. Tomatin became the first distillery to be acquired by Japanese interests in 1986 (Takara Shuzo Co. and Okara & Co) and production capacity was waned back to just under 7 million litres. Still quite a big boy, though.

So why haven't I ever heard of Tomatin, you ask? Well, this 12yo single malt replaced a 10yo in 2003, but only 1 or 2% of what the distillery produces ends up released as a single, and little of that tiny amount ever makes it to North America. Tomatin goes largely into blended whiskies (in Scotland and Japan) including Big T, Talisman, and The Antiquary.
The marketing lines suggest that the distillery has been modest about its achievements, and all signs point to a reassertion of Tomatin and Antiquary blended whiskies in the marketplace.

The single is released as a 12 and a 25 year old, and there are several really good independent bottlings out in the big bad world.


Linseed or flaxseed oil, a beer hops floral aroma, slightly sweaty and rubbery. Damp, air dried towels, pecans and butter tarts. If there is any peat, it comes off quite rubbery. I know this must sound vulgar, but the impressions are delicate and quite enticing.

Peppery, full in the mouth. Parsley. Buttery, with sugar. Nutty, musty, and oaky. Some industrial style peat again, but just perfumy.


Quite an unusual whisky, unique combination of flavours, or types of flavours; a whisky that shows subtle depth with a real Highland style about it. A difficult dram to compare with anything else and hard to find a place for it on my shelf... what mood would it suit? I guess those moments of indecision, when you can't be bothered to think about what you want. Very satisfying for pub dramming(Big T and Tomatin were often on optics when I lived in Edinburgh) and good value by the bottle.

Malt Mission #121
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Konrad1 said...

Saw a bottle in Omaha (central US) for $23 USD. Aggressive pricing indeed for any single. I'll have to give it a go.

Anonymous said...

Was $23 USD for a while here, too, 'till I drank their stock. When they got more in, the bastards jacked the price up to $28!