Tomintoul Distillery Bottlings Tasting Notes

Posted: September 23, 2011 in Scotch Whisky H-Z, Tomintoul

Tomintoul 5 Decades 50th Anniversary 50%

The distillery have marked the fiftieth anniversary of spirit flowing from its stills with this stunning release composed of whiskies from each decade. Casks were chosen from 1965, 1975, 1985, 1995 and 2005 by Master Distiller, Robert Fleming, producing 5,230 individually numbered bottles.

Tasted: Dec 2015

Nose: Mature and dusty with dried tropical fruit mix, earth and herbal notes. Hints of almost rye-like herbs, menthol and eucalyptus add edginess. Lightly chocolaty with baked apple and green citric notes.

Palate: Quite mature with baked fruit and barley. Lightly coffee’d with earth and like the nose a herbal edginess. Slightly woody on the middle, but harmoniously balanced.

Finish: Long, intense and spicy with again rye-like herbs and green wood.

Conclusion: Seriously intense, which is helped by the abv.

Tomintoul 5 Decades 50th Anniversary 50%

Re-Tasted: Apr 2016

Nose: Very herbal, nettly and vegetal with pure Amontillado-esque sherry character. Quite salty and edgy with a profusion of walnut, almond and pecan mingling with dark honey and vanilla laced fruitcake.

Palate: Still very nutty but less herbal and funky than the nose with plenty of coffee’d tannins, caramel, salt and dried treacle fruitcake. The alcohol adds a freshening balance to the sweetness.

Finish: Intense, salty and nutty with the funky character returning.

Conclusion: A funky, herbal, sherry monster. Not exactly my cup of tea, but it goes rather well with a cigar!

Tomintoul Tlath 40%

Tasted: Sept 2016

Nose: Generously proportioned with mashed banana, toffee, crunchy honeycomb, apricot and fig. With time an almost Manzanilla-esque oxidised fruit note appears along with a light herbal note.

Palate: Full and generous. Less complex than the nose due to the voluptuous toffee’d oak but some tart citrus balances and hints of barley, banana and apricot come through on the middle.

Finish: Long, crisp, austere and almost grainy or Irish pot still-like. Interesting!

Conclusion: A pretty entertaining dram. I certainly wasn’t expecting that finish!

Tomintoul Tlath 40%

Re- Tasted: Oct 2016

The nose is quite oily with fragrant barley and a touch of apricot. Lightly herbal with a slight oxidised nuttiness.

The palate opens with the barley and mashed banana. It has a slight youthful biscuitiness and a light ‘off the still’ oiliness. Hints of toffee’d oak come through on the middle and the finish is a little austere and spicy with lingering oily notes. It doesn’t seem quite as evolved as the last time I tasted it. Batch variation?

Tomintoul Tlath 40%

Re- Tasted: Feb 2017

The nose is slightly gristy and herbal. Pleasantly full with honey, juicy apricot, barley, lemon, sweet vanilla oak, white chocolate and a subtle minerality.

Soft and honeyed on the palate with apricot, barley, straw and crunchy honeycomb. Quite a mineral and tartly citric middle. Good length, continuing citric and minerally with a late spicy flourish.

Tomintoul 10 year old 40%

Tasted: Nov 2008

A clean nose. A touch grassy with honey, barley and some caramel. Quiet pleasant with a granity fresh/ herbal note. The palate is a bit simple with quiet intrusive alcohol and a slightly bitter finish. A drop of water does tame the alcohol and sweetens the palate a bit but it still simple nevertheless.

Tomintoul 10 year old 40%

Re-Tasted: June 2013

The nose is quite toffee’d and caramelized with hints of honey and sweet barley, with time some herbal notes emerge along with a light granite character.

The palate pretty much mirrors the nose, opening with the toffee’d, caramel oak vanillins. Gently fruity with hints of barley on the middle. Medium length with a light citrus/ mineral finish.

Tomintoul 10 year old 40%

Re-Tasted: July 2014

The nose opens with some fragrant barley along with lightly honey coated greengage and gooseberry but the slightly burnt caramel note flattens.

The palate is soft and slightly creamy with too much toffee and caramel for any fruit notes to show. Simple with a pleasant citrus finish, but that slightly burnt caramel note lingers.

Tomintoul 12 year old ‘Port Finish’ 46%

Tasted: Aug 2011

The nose is pretty much all winey, red fruits (redcurrant jelly) with a slight hint of grassiness and lemon.

The palate is swamped by the finish. There is a sensation of some honeyed fruit beneath but the peppery port fruit puts paid to it coming through. Like the Glencadam 12 year old Port finish it’s not overly tannic but unlike the Glencadam, the spirit is more robust and stops the wood drying out the finish. This at least gives it some length but sadly no distillery character.

Tomintoul 14 year old 46%

Bourbon/ Tasted: Aug 2011

A seriously lemony nose, reminiscent of lemon curd with grassy notes. With time there is a hint of perfumed white flowers.

The palate is soft, yet crisp and like the nose full of castor sugar sprinkled lemon curd. A good intensity if somewhat linear. Reasonable palate cleansing finish. Pleasant, but lacks the depth of the 16 year old.

Tomintoul 15 year old Port Finish 46%

Tasted: Apr 2016

A nose of toasted oak and fresh, red fruits. Well balanced with hints of barley, taught tannins, roasted Java coffee , earth, luscious apricot, earth and perfumed red cherry.

The nose opens with the soft, light syrup coated red fruit and barley. Beautifully layered with hints of milk chocolate, coffee, wood spice and tannin. Gently spiced with a long, seriously juicy red fruit and barley finish. Dry, chocolaty tannin after-taste.

Tomintoul 15 year old Port Finish 46%

Re-Tasted: Apr 2017

The nose opens with straw dried redcurrant, raspberry and strawberry fruit, followed by malt, earth, dunnage, loam and some balancing, slightly tart gooseberry. A touch of barley appears along with some supple coffee’d tannin. It’s a beautifully integrated nose.

The palate has a subtler port influence, so that there is more barley on displays, along with honey and malt. The red fruit comes though along with a touch of straw, damp earth and lightly bittering, chocolaty spice on the middle. Long and fabulously intense with the port notes returning and merging with the dry, chocolaty wood notes. The finish is a little austere, but you have to love that juicy, mouth-watering minerality!

Tomintoul 16 year old 40%

Tasted: Nov 2008

Thearomasare considerably deeper and thicker than the 10 yearold, the honey and barley has taken on a lovely mature sheen and is supported by a dollop of orange fruit and a thin thread of smoke. The slight grassiness and the granity freshness remain.

The palate displays a depth and delicacy opening with the mature honey and barley and opens into a quiet herbal middle. The mature honey rushes back in and it becomes quiet delightfully chewy in texture. The piquant alcohol dies the finish out a bit and there plenty of coffee grains supporting the returning herbal character on the finish. All in all good value for money.

Tomintoul 16 year old 46%

Re-Tasted: Feb 2014

Hmm, not all is well with the nose. Yes there are hints of darkly honeyed fleshy fruit but it’s ruined by the burnt herbal caramel. Sweet and sugared with hints of creamy/ sweet vanilla.

The palate is quite sweet and fleshy with again a burnt caramel demeanour. Big and malty with light spice note. The middle is somewhat hollow with the creamy oak coming through but the finish is a bit on the hot side. A real poor show from what should be an excellent malt. Just a bad batch I hope!

Tomintoul 16 year old 40%

Re-Tasted: Aug 2014

Deep, rich, mature, very honeyed aromas of sub-tropical fruit with a touch of dusty oak.. The honey is so deep and gorgeously mature. With time hints of light coffee with herbal flecks appears.

The palate is soft and honeyed with hints of herbal barley and luscious, mature sub-tropical fruit. Like the nose it is deliciously honeyed and deep with a light citrus note adding freshness. Long, lightly coffee’d and beautifully fruity finish.

Tomintoul 21 year old 40%

Bourbon/ Tasted: Aug 2011

A lovely, sub-tropical, crystallised nose with hints of grass and barley sugar. Some lovely mature honey drifts in along with some creamy oak. Lovely complexity with a hint of hessian and Colombian coffee. With time a beautiful liquid orange aroma appears.

Soft and juicy with a pithy quality. Opening with a lovely melange of sub-tropical melon, lemon and apricot. Seriously succulent and mouth filling with globs of mature honey on the middle, leading into a grassy, mineral finish. A very gentle dram with a gorgeous depth.

Tomintoul 21 year old 40%

Btl: 2017/ Tasted: Aug 2017

Dense and honeyed aromas with barley, apricot, straw, lime, white liquorice and vanilla oak. The oak develops pleasantly to show a touch of toast and vanilla custard along with some herbal nuances. Wonderfully mature with a balancing freshness.

The palate is full of sweet barley with hints of apricot, apple and white fruit. Hints of mature oak come through on the middle along with a balancing, vibrant citrus. Long and remaining citric with lingering oak, minerals and subtle spice.

Tomintoul 25 year old 40%

Tasted: Nov 2014

A fresh and aromatic nose with lightly honey barley, apricot, apple, banana and pear. The dusty, mature American oak arrives as the fruit takes on that classic, slight tropical aged character. Late notes of heather and a touch of almost herbal rye.

The palate is slightly oily, opening with the barley along with dense apricot and honey. Gently fragrant with a touch if mature oak. Wonderfully fresh and granity on the middle with the honey sitting below. Long and continuing quite fresh with a light bittering from the oak.

Tomintoul 25 year old 43%

Re-Tasted: Apr 2015

The nose displays plenty of herbal honey and sherry wood spices. Hints of sawdusty American oak can be detected beneath along with a touch of butter and toffee, which begins to come through quite forcefully. However it is not one dimensional as apricot, apple, cinnamon, nutmeg mocha and a touch of oriental spice appear with time.

The palate opens with the sherried dried fruit along with cinnamon and nutmeg. The lightly toffee’d American oak pushes through trailing lightly herbal notes in its wake and some lovely honey too! Good length, a little drying but the finish contains some lovely chocolate ice-cream and lightly bitter spices.

Tomintoul 27 year old 40%

Tasted: Nov 2008

A beautiful nose. Frightening depth of rich, unctuous mature honey, toffee and sweet marmalade coated fruit. There’s a herbal note buried under the huge weight of honeyed, sweet barley. Late vanilla, dusty spice and a slight dunnage join in the fun.

Soft and gentle on the palate. A huge depth of mouth-filling vanilla, mature honey, toffee, dunnage and glorious barley caress the palate. The middle has a delightful piquant alcohol to balance and a touch of crisp granite and herbal notes. Very long with a touch of stewed fruit along with some wood spices. Lingers wonderfully!

Tomintoul 1976 (31 year old) 40%

Tasted: Nov 2008

A verdantarray of wonderfully exotic, honeyed tropical fruits greet the nose. The aromas are somewhat lighter than the 27 and positively reeks of mature bourbon oak. Amazingly juicy without being hugely sweet. Over time some gratifying herbal spice drifts in and a lovely perfumed/ floral top note appears.

Soft and oily in the mouth beginning with gentle tropical fruit and mature oak. Wave upon wave of oily vanilla soaked barley, mature malt and gentle spice roll over the tongue. All garnished with a dusting of powdery cocoa, malt and a smidgen of smoke. A lovely balance and it still retains a playful youthfulness. Mouth-filling but not overstated. Gentle, mature, divine! A wonderfully mature Spey.

Tomintoul 33 year old 40%

Bourbon/ Tasted: Jan 2012

The nose opens with a serious degree of leafy herbal notes – menthol, mint, thyme. Behind sits a depth of succulent, mature honey, fleshy, juicy fruit and a touch of granite. Then with time the wood notes appear – pine resin, cedar and wood varnish. Wonderfully elegant and complex.

A soft, almost shy start to the proceedings. Subtly juicy with the herbal notes from the nose definitely noticeable. It joyfully meanders along in its own little world, adding a touch of honey, marmalade rind, thick cut barley and oak vanillins here and a touch of granity-crispness there. Mind the combination of alcohol and granite does make it feel a tad on the austere side. The honey does attempt to come back on the finish but I’m left feeling that for a £125 I want a bit more than just ‘gentle meandering’.

Tomintoul 1976 (34 year old) 43%

Bourbon/ Dist: 1976 Btl: 2010/ Tasted: Jan 2012

The oak is definitely in control here. It’s an overload of big, creamy/ milky vanillins, crème brulée and pure vanilla pod. There are hints of unsweetened honey and fleshy, sub-tropical fruit and ever so gentle spices attempting to extricate themselves from the oaks vice-like grip, but the oak is always going to win. In saying that it does have a wonderful depth.

The palate is soft and gentle to the point of over subtly. The alcohol is pretty intrusive and overtly dominates. That combined with the subtly of the sub-tropical fruit makes the palate feel rather one-dimensional and austere. Yes it has some pleasant, albeit subtle (again!) spicy notes along with hints of white liquorice and unsweetened white chocolate but the dry theme continues right to the end.

Tomintoul with a Peaty Twang 40%

Tasted: Dec 2010

A crisp yet rich nose of very lightly oiled dry peat. Slightly gristy as the young spirit component asserts itself. With time it becomes quite malty with a definite fruity intensity.

The palate opens with the youthful element, showing a touch of marc-like character followed by the dry, powdery peat and a violet note. Like the nose it becomes a tad gristy before the oak briefly puts in an appearance leaving the older spirit component to show off. Lovely length with a touch of oily liquorice and hickory in the finish.

Tomintoul peaty Tang 40%

Re-Tasted: Aug 2014

The nose appears to be quite heavily peated with herbal, dry, dusty peat along with hints of bog myrtle and tar. Hmm, a little more than just a peaty tang one thinks! With time a touch of oily barley and citrus appears.

The palate shows a subtler peat character. Again it is duty and earthy with more barley and light honey coming through. Hints of toffee and coffee emerge on the middle. Long, gently sooty-peat finish with a lovely sweetness as the sugars arrive. Beautifully balanced with quite a mentholated after-taste.


Old Ballantruan 50%

Tasted: Jan 2012

A young and bracingly phenolic nose. Obviously not coastal given that it is a peated spey, but the peat aromas are distinctly medicinal in character. Beneath is some sweet malt and grist.

The palate opens with some sweet barley followed by gentle medicinal peat and grassy spey notes. Tongue searingly alcoholic, which makes the mouth water uncontrollably! Seriously intense with a light ashy/ spicy finish.

Now adding a drop of water you would expect some changes to be made, but I have never experienced such a profound change to a malt. Where has the peat gone? It’s done a runner! All that’s left is some slightly sweet, slightly oily, slightly cerealy spirit of undeterminable provenance.

Personally I’d stick with the Tomintoul ‘with a peaty twang’ if you have a craving for a young, peated spey.

Old Ballantruan 50%

Re- Tasted: Oct 2016

Fresh, intense and quite Islay-like and salty with sweet, heathery peat and subtly tarry and medicinal notes. With time a touch of barley and honey appears.

The palate is slightly smokier and dustier with coffee and wood spice. Lightly medicinal and phenolic peat on the middle. Long and dusty with alcohol enhanced saltiness and lingering sweet peat and barley.

Old Ballantruan 10 year old 50%

Tasted: Nov 2012

Essentially it’s heavily peated Tomintoul and the nose displays plenty of sweet iodine, brine and coastal/ seaweedy peat. To be honest I was expecting a drier, more earthy-peat character somewhere along the lines of Benriach Curiositas, but it’s distinctly ‘phroaig-esque and medicinaly astringent.

The palate is fairly full with a touch of burnt caramel. Actually that more than a touch and it really dampens the palate and impacts on the peat. Lightly medicinal and a bit short with the coastal notes hanging in there amidst the drying alcohol and bitter oak. Unfortunately the palate is a lot less impressive than the nose.

I tried it with a drop of water and the nose became very oily (linseed) and muted with a touch of kerosene. The palate however became very watery and sugar’d. The peat on the other hand had gone completely awol.

Old Ballantruan 10 year old 50%

Re-Tasted: Feb 2017

A subtle and oily nose with tarry-peat, barley, rich apricot, menthol and herbal, manurey notes.

The palate is full and coffee’d with hints of natural caramel oak, bunt wood and earthy peat. A little edgy and herbal on the middle. Medium length with the oily peat returning along with a touch of milk chocolate and salt.


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