Ok. Without even tasting this I can tell we’re finally moving in the right direction with Tomatin. The nose on this 18 is miles ahead of both the choppy 12 and the rather milquetoast 15. In fact I’d almost think this was an Aberlour if nosed blind. Not quite a’bunadh territory, to be clear, but Aberlour nevertheless.
The Oloroso influence here is really the main talking point. The bottle indicates that the malt is ‘finished in Oloroso’ (so not a full blown maturation), but it’s a seriously lengthy finishing period. Whereas the 12 is a 6-9 month finish, the 18 is two and a half years in sherry butts. Even so, the sherry notes are more mighty than expected and quite well integrated. The heft of fruit and earthy tobacco notes kinda makes me think these were wet fill barrels though. Just speculation on my part.
The unfortunate thing is that the palate simply doesn’t deliver what the nose advertises. Bad, by no means, but certainly a lot sharper than expected. And that bitterness? Hmmm…not quite working for me. All in all, a slightly unbalanced drink with a better than expected nose.
Nose: Biscuits and jam. Freshly milled grains. Big sherry notes. At cask strength I’d think we were in Aberlour territory. A little berry and cherry. Tobacco and spicy cedar. Quite lush. Vanilla cake with thick berry coulis.
Palate: Fruity and spicy delivery. A lot of wood. Coffee notes, with a bit of chocolate. With a bit of sharp bitterness. Not nearly as pleasant as the nose. Too tannic. Like eating berries with some of the greens or stems still attached. But…still quite solid. Some ginger, pepper and apple skins. Toothpicks.
Thoughts: This could be much more special at cask strength. And the nose is miles ahead of the palate, but still solid. The nose actually hints at barrels older than 18 years.
– Reviewed by: Curt
– Photo: Curt