2003 Tomatin, Cask No. 1920, Highland, Single Malt Scotch Whisky (50.9%) (BBR Exclusive Cask)
About this SPIRIT
Tomatin Distillery (pronounced Tom-at-in) means `Hill of the Juniper' in the Gaelic language. As a distilling site, illicit or otherwise, Tomatin goes back to the 15th Century when drovers - men who `drove' their cattle to market over high mountain passes - would fill up their whisky flasks from a still alongside the Old Laird's House. It was built on the site in 1897 by the Tomatin Spey District Distillery Co.
Its heydays were from 1950s to 1974 that witnessed a steep increase in its production to almost 12 million litres a year, which made Tomatin the largest Scotch whisky distillery in the world in terms of capacity at the time.
The distillery was acquired by a Japanese venture in 1986, that established the current Tomatin Distillery Company Limited, and launched the modern era of whisky distilling in the Monadhliath Mountains.
The whisky is subtle and quite flavoursome. Stylistically it sits mid-way between light, Highland single malts and other richer, lushier Speyside malts.
To some Speyside represents the jewel in whisky’s crown. Speyside is the home of legal whisky production and it’s best known examples. Around the world Glenlivet, Macallan, Glenfiddich, Glenrothes and Glenfarclas typify all that whisky, at it’s best has to offer. At it’s heart running from the Monadhliath mountains north to the sea, is the River Spey. It is the fastest flowing river in Britain, and also well known for its salmon fishing.
Speyside is the principal whisky-producing region: Speyside has within it some forty-six operating distilleries - over half the total number in the entire Scotland.
Speysides are essentially sweet whiskies. They have little peaty character They are typically highly perfumed, feminine and elegant.
The classical nature of Speyside’s malts means that a number of the finest malts are used almost exclusively for blending. It is the top Speysider’s that give good blends their ‘Top Dressing’.
Malts such as Mortlach, Glen Elgin, Strathmill and Benrinnes are rarely found as distillery bottlings, however when individual casks are tracked down by independent bottlers such as our Own Selection Single Malt Whiskies the resultant whisky can be quite wonderful.
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From the thrilling line-up I tasted last year, this succulent single cask absolutely shone. Raised in a classic ex-Bourbon 200-litre barrel, the nose and palate abound with citrus notes and fleshy, sweet oak. The texture is juicy on the palate, becoming beautifully creamy and rounded. Touches of almond come through on the lengthy finish. This type of cask hides nothing – but with spirit this immaculate, there’s truly nothing to hide. I’ll be drinking this alongside anything containing frangipane.
Rob Whitehead, Spirits Buyer (Jan 2022)
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