This is the apex of the Tomatin range, both in terms of true age-stated lordship and pure ‘intrinsic quality’ (to borrow an apt but overused phrase from our mate Ralfy). Not a malt you’re likely to come by easily – or affordably, for that matter – but one that certainly stands as an extraordinary offering from this Highland distillery of recent reknown.
As I’ve mentioned in previous reviews, the folks at Tomatin have blitzed the market in recent years with an ever-growing range of age-stated and non-age-stated expressions. Unfortunately however, the latter seem to be coming more to the forefront, and several of the numbered releases are being shelved indefinitely. This seems to be the ‘worldhood of the world’ in whisky spheres lately. I’ve not deigned to review the NAS offerings (as regular readers will no doubt understand), but have tried to shed a little light on the rest of the range over the last week or two. As none of these malts were new to me, there haven’t been a lot of surprises.
In short, the brand is still one that bores me. Most of the releases I’ve tried have been mediocre at best and quite depressing at worst, but older Tomatin shows that it is a malt that benefits from prolonged maturation. The 25, 30 and 40 are all quite special in their own right. Younger than that, though, and I’d generally take a pass.
Seeing as this long gone 40 year old was a very small run of only 1,614 bottles, it’s unlikely that too many folks out there will ever get their hands on a dram of it, and that is truly a shame as it is a really, really nice whisky. If you do get a shot at it though, this is the one expression in their stable that offers a glimpse of greatness.
Details, for those interested: A vatting of seven ex-bourbon hogsheads, distilled in 1967 and bottled in 2007.
Nose: Oh wow. So sexy. Very mature. Oily delivery and immediately has me wrapped around its finger. Waxy. Gorgeous fruits that are taking us right into tropical territory. Pepper and polished wood. Old cabinets of books. A little bit of cherry and some latex.
Palate: Yes! Tropical and lovely. Big threads of cherry or pomegranate. Five Alive with grenadine. Baking spices, clean grains and soft vanillins. Incredibly balanced palate. This is what makes older whiskies incomparable.
Thoughts: This is right in my wheelhouse. A beautiful nose and an equally lovely palate. This is harmony.
* Thanks to Andrew Ferguson at KWM for the chance to try this one. Slainte!
– Reviewed by: Curt
– Photo: Curt
Whew! Finally done with Tomatin for a while. I know a few of you were waiting for these. Hope this helps. Hmmm…what next? Some old Caol Ila perhaps?
Great review. I have a bottle of this squirrelled away for my 40th, so glad to read it’s as good as I’d hoped.
Interestingly, despite the dark hue, it was a combination of 7 bourbon casks as opposed to sherry.
Keep up the sterling work.
Thanks for the kind words, Johnnie. Appreciate the heads up on the casks too. The Master Of Malts site had it listed as sherry hoggies (https://www.masterofmalt.com/whiskies/tomatin-40-year-old-whisky/) and I saw somewhere else that they were sherry-SEASONED hoggies, but sure enough the bottle itself evens says ex-bourbon. Thanks for the correction. Amended above.
I have just ordered a bottle of this yesterday. upon reading your notes I anxiously await its arrival. Sadly as with all seriously aged whiskeys both the price and availability make one both eager and reluctant to open such a bottle since once its gone you know you will never have the opportunity to savor it again. But as they say better to have loved once than never at all
Just a quick note as I am a man of few words. While the bottle was not cheap it was worth every penny. Enjoyed it for the first time two nights ago and it was truly a pleasure. What 40 yrs can do to a whisky is amazing. Having said that I must also add that it cmd in a very simple wood box. Nice to not have to pay for over the top packaging. My 40 yr Glenfiddich and John Walker come immediately to mind