Chorlton – Tomintoul 14 years 57.6%

Let’s just start by acknowledging that independent bottler Chorlton has the most gorgeous labels! There is no way these bottles are going into recycling… instead I’ve decided to start a ‘top shelf’ in my study with the empties.

But first, we need to finish them! Galloping to the rescue was our European Chapter of Whisky Ladies… nicely enabling me to package up generous tasting sets for our mutual malty pleasure.

Our second evening started off with this Speyside Tomintoul… Naturally at cask strength and sampled without initially revealing the distillery.

Tomintoul 14 years 57.6% 455 bottles

  • Nose – Mmmm cherry, jammy with lots of red fruits and berries, started to shift into melon, then marzipan, nuts, honey, cured prunes
  • Palate – A lovely nice sweet spice, more depth than expected from the aromas, honey, almost a ‘port’ style with a heavy sweetness, wood, full bodied yet gentle and nuanced… with a kind of almost buttery or creamy fullness
  • Finish – Long, strong, comforting finish

While there was absolutely nothing wrong with this one ‘as is’, we thought to also try with water and see if it added, detracted or made minimal difference.

  • Nose – Even fruitier – if that is possible! With more of the marzipan nutty element too, chased by creme brûlée
  • Palate – Also juicier, simply lip smacking!
  • Finish – Retained the sweetly spiced finish

In short, water works if you want to amp up the fruits even more, but also fine without.

Overall we found this to be a well-rounded, happily familiar feeling dram. The kind of cold weather whisky you want to come home to as the perfect anecdote to the bracing outdoors. Fabulous.

What does David have to say?

A fully sherry-matured single cask Speysider at an everyday price? Why ever not! This one has dark berry fruits, honey and toasted teacake on the nose. The palate is creamy, with lemon drops, caramelised pears and an earthy and toasty cardamom spiciness, leading into a hazelnut and dried fruit finish. An affable and quaffable dram, but by no means dull.

I purchased this whisky directly from the Chorlton website for £60 plus shipping.

Here is the full set of Chorlton‘s sampled:

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Tomintoul Trilogy – 10, 16 + 27 year

Tomintoul describe their whisky as “the gentle dram.” I first tried a fleeting sample years ago and found the description exceedingly apt – it indeed left an impression of a rather gentle, soft whisky with little else.

So when offered an opportunity to share a miniature trilogy of the Tomintoul 10, 16 and 27 years? I naturally welcomed the chance to bring a fresh perspective and expand on my earlier brief encounter…

Tomintoul Trilogy

Tomintoul is from the Speyside region and located near the Tomintoul village in in Ballindalloch. It opened in 1964 and primarily use ex-bourbon American white oak casks for maturing without peat for most whiskies in their range.

What did we find?

Tomintoul 10Tomintoul 10 year 40%

  • Nose – New wood, sweet, pears and apples, hint of spice peaking behind, slight phenyl, camomile, dry hay, not strong cereals but certainly there with lightly toasted seeds.. after sipping and leaving to air, found slight banana toffee and curds, then vanilla
  • Palate – Slightly sweet hay, barley, with a sprinkling of sugar on cereal
  • Finish – Short, mild burn with little else…

Overall it is very gentle, pleasant however not terribly memorable.

What do the folks at Tomintoul have to say?

  • Nose – Hints of citrus, with honey tones and a whiff of mountain heather
  • Palate – Round, creamy sweetness balanced by gentle oaky spice
  • Finish – A surge of sweetness swiftly pursued by tingling spice

Tomintoul 16 year 40%
Tomintoul 16

  • Nose – When first opened, found freshly planed wood shavings, a meadow of fresh grass and heather, honey, flowers, sunshine, supple leather gloves, sweet…
  • Palate – Watered down tea, soooooo soft… took a while to realize still sipping alcohol
  • Finish – Errmm…. there really wasn’t

Huge caveat: Though still sealed, the miniature was missing a chunk of whisky so clearly something went wrong… the peculiarly flat and watered down quality were likely linked to this odd occurrence. Hence would not trust our tasting notes and give the benefit of the doubt there is more to this whisky than our experience…

What do the folks at Tomintoul have to say?

  • Nose – Soft fruits with hints of hazelnut and vanilla
  • Palate – Full flavour, nutty with spicy overtones
  • Finish – Creamy and velvety at first with a spicy finish

Tomintoul 27 year 40%Tomintoul 27

  • Nose – Initially a light burst of phenyl, resin, iodine then it settled down into a light sweetness with subtle figs, a hint of herbs, sweet basil and spearmint, then a sharper undertone of bitter tumeric… after sipping and left alone for some time discerned vanilla, caramel custard, that doughy yeasty quality of a sticky bun or apple pie crust
  • Palate – Very dry, some spice yet also sweet, overall quite restrained with some cereal, hay, quite woody dry, interestingly would shift between smooth and sweet to woody dry then back again
  • Finish – Finally we have a finish! Lingering sweetness

Overall the clear front-runner of the three.

Apparently the folks over at Tomintoul have discontinued their 27 year so alas no tasting notes for this one.

After lightly tippling through this trio, would I seek out more Tomintoul to explore further? Honestly while I’m glad to have tried, this simply isn’t the whisky style for me.

While I’ve gained over the years an increasing appreciation for lighter more nuanced whiskies, I will admit to being averse to anything too insipid. Perhaps my palate is not sufficiently finely tuned and simply craves more obvious character and complexity.

However Tomintoul could be ‘just right’ for someone who prefers a light, soft and yes…. gentle dram. Eminently pleasant, no nasty negative notes, no surprises just sweet cereals with slight variation between the vintages…

I couldn’t help but equate each whisky with a season:

  • For the 10 year – Think a bright spring afternoon.
  • For the 16 year – Think warm breeze in a summer meadow…
  • And the 27 year – Think strolling in the woods with the first crisp chill of autumn.

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