Tomintoul 16

Tomintoul 16

Nose:  Granny Smith apples, well-ripe pears, pie crust, brown sugar, and just the faintest trace of nail polish.

Palate:  Stewed apples and pairs with cloves, roasted almonds, and just a touch of cinnamon.  The lightest hint of something creamy – like the foam from a cappuccino hanging around the edges.

Mouthfeel:  Lusciously thick and velvety.  Viscous, but slightly dry.  Just a feather-light touch of heat.

Finish:  The stewed apples from the palate leave quickly, but the stewed pears with cloves hang around for an eternity.  The touch of cinnamon is still there – and brings with it a lasting warmth on the tongue.  The cappuccino foam has turned properly creamy now – becoming a coffee cream that is very light on the coffee.



A Speyside single malt matured in ex-Bourbon barrels, and bottled at 40% with colouring. Not normally a description of a whisky that I would pay a lot of attention, nor expect great things from; and to be honest, I wasn’t expecting great things from this whisky before I tried it – the words “the gentle dram” on the label didn’t raise my expectations either.  Talk about having some misconceptions about the quality of the whisky!  I really think I’d have been better coming to this whisky blind, and not having any expectations before the first sniff.

This whisky has a strength that is unexpected from it’s whisky-minimum ABV of 40%; without having read the bottle, I would have guessed and ABV of somewhere around 43-46% – it’s a beautifully thick whisky with just the gentlest prickling of heat on the tongue.  They may call this the gentle dram, which it certainly is – there’s no sharp edges anywhere; just wave upon wave of rich thick gooey softness.  It kind of reminds me of Baymax in the movie Big Hero 6 – soft round cuddliness that hides an incredibly strong core.

Tomintoul is a fairly young distillery, having been established in 1964; and is a pretty small distillery by Scottish standards, with only 4 steam-heated stills in total – 2 wash stills, and 2 spirit stills.  They produce both peated, and unpeated single malt whiskies – with the unpeated whiskies like this one released under the Tomintoul brand, and peated whiskies released under the Old Ballantruan brand.  For a small bit of trivia, Tomintoul is listed in the Guinness book of records for producing the largest ever bottle of whisky in the world – at 105.3 litres.

This 16 year old expression has won itself a whole swag of awards from around the place, and received a well deserved score of 94.5 from the man in the panama hat in 2012.  I have a feeling this whisky is going to regularly find its way into my whisky cabinet.  It really would be a thing of beauty if Tomintoul released this at somewhere around 50% ABV.

Nose:  Granny Smith apples, well-ripe pears, pie crust, brown sugar, and just the faintest trace of nail polish. Palate:  Stewed apples and pairs with cloves, roasted almonds, and just a touch of cinnamon.  The lightest hint of something creamy - like the foam from a cappuccino hanging around the edges. Mouthfeel:  Lusciously thick and velvety.  Viscous, but slightly dry.  Just a feather-light touch of heat. Finish:  The stewed apples from the palate leave quickly, but the stewed pears with cloves hang around for an eternity.  The touch of cinnamon is still there - and brings with it a lasting warmth…
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Glenfiddich: XX

Glenfiddich XX

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Nose:  Christmas cake with maraschino cherries and plenty of brandy soaked sultanas.  Quite sweet - heading towards the golden syrup end of the sugary spectrum.  Also some vanilla, and hints of some sweet spices. Palate:  Sweeter and less fruity than the nose - also a lot less heavy than the nose would suggest.  A few sultanas are still to be found, although they seem to have dumped the brandy.  A little nutty as well, and just a trace of vanilla. Mouthfeel:  Surprisingly light in the weight department.  Despite the higher alcohol, there is only a very very slight tingle on…

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Glenfiddich: IPA

Glenfiddich IPA

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Nose:  A fresh winter fruit salad of mixed apples, pears, and grapes, with a side serving of milk arrowroot biscuits and some subtle sweet spices. Palate: The winter fruit and malty biscuits come through from the nose, now joined by citrus zests - more lemon and lime than orange.  Also joining the nose is a decent serve of hops - soft and sweet, but with a slight tang; even a touch floral perhaps.  A hint of vanilla also creeps into the palate. Mouthfeel: Not the thickest whisky I've ever had, but a decent heft is present nonetheless.  A touch creamy…

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Bruichladdich: Port Charlotte Scottish Barley

Bruichladdich Port Charllote Scottish Barley

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Nose: Smoky, sweet, salty - quite coastal.  Hints of citrus - mainly lemon; and traces of nature reserves (from where I grew up).  Quite soft and subtle for the peat level. Palate: Smoky and salty, vanilla and lemon - a slightly floral hint lurking too.  The smoke is clean and bushfire-like rather than the usual Islay medicinal peat.  the smoke levels are consistent with what you'd expect from the peat levels of this whisky, but the rest of the palate is remarkably mild and smooth.  Somehow the palate is both delicate and solidly heavy at the same time. Mouthfeel: Thick,…

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The Ten #3: Clynelish 2008

The Ten Number 3 Clynelish

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Nose:  Young sweet malt, fresh cut grass, honeyed oats, and icing sugar. Palate:  Fresh toast, oats, hints of honey, and faintly tropical.  Slightly grassy as well. Mouthfeel:  Dry, slightly warm, mid-weight, quite waxy. Finish:  Short, dry, some slight wood spices, and a bit waxy. Balance: Just about perfect - this whisky is fresh and reasonably light all round, with perhaps just a touch more weight on the tongue than the rest of the whisky would suggest.  A consistent whisky right from the first nosing through to the finish. The first thing I have to mention about this whisky is the…

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Auchroisk 1996 Berry’s Own

Auchroisk 1996 Berrys Own

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Nose:  Very sweet.  Jersey caramels, fairy floss, golden syrup on pancakes, and sugared fruit jelly lollies.  Quite the fairground. Palate:  Vanilla, caramel toffee & caramel fudge, oak spices, nutmeg, and fresh timber.  Surprisingly light on flavour given its ABV. Mouthfeel:  Thick, dry, and warm.  A slight burn on the tip of the tongue that dies off quickly. Finish:  Medium length.  Burnt toffee; dry and slightly bitter.  Hints of salted walnuts, and traces of floral notes after a while. Balance: This whisky a bit all over the shop.  The mouthfeel could be said to match nicely with the nose, but the…

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William Grant & Sons: Rare Cask Reserves – Cruinnich

William Grant Cruinich 21

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Nose:  Grape juice, pears, oak, vanilla fudge, brown sugar, and faint notes of paint thinner. Palate:  Heavy on the oak flavours - quite woody up front, and full of oak spices at the back end.  Pretty sweet, with some slight fruity salad notes.  Hints of vanilla fudge or cake icing. Mouthfeel:  Fairly light and mellow.  Very dry.  There is no burn at all.  Lacking any significan body for a whisky of its age. Finish:  Oak spices, and (very) faint traces of vanilla.  The finish is so short it is practically non-existent. Balance:  This whisky is pretty consistent all the way…

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Stone Pine: Dead Man’s Drop [Rum]

Stone Pine Dead Mans Drop

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Nose:  Fruit cake, liquorice, vanilla, candied fruit peel, and almonds. Palate:  Mountains of candied orange, fruitcake, and vanilla; along with a few chocolate-covered liquorice bullets.  Also something sweet spice - that adds a little bit of zing.  Seriously sweet and fruity, with a touch of spice. Mouthfeel:  Thick and chewy.  It covers the whole mouth in a deliciously solid layer of rum. Finish:  Long and so very sweet.  Oodles of fruit cake on the finish, with more spice than on the nose or palate. Balance:  This is seriously well balanced - strong and smooth from the very first whiff till…

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Bruichladdich: Octomore 1.1

Bruichladdich Octomore 1.1

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Nose:  Salt, seaweed, hay, wood shavings, and fresh malt.  Also some aniseed, and wet tar. Small hints of icing sugar and sherbet are also there. Palate:  Brine, peat, straw, jalepenos, mixed beer nuts, and well-charred barbequed meats.  Did I mention the brine and the peat?  They make up the majority of the flavour. Mouthfeel:  Mid-weight, and quite oily.  Quite a bit of burn. Finish:  Salty, extremely peaty, and barbeque ash.  Quite a long finish, with a decent amount of burn.  The finish is surprisingly dry considering the mouthfeel is so oily. Balance:  It's not really balanced at all; sweet and…

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Bruichladdich: Octomore 2.1

Bruichladdich Octomore 2.1

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Nose:  Brine, lemon, recently mowed grass, peat, and polished wood.  Also traces of freshly oiled leather, and a slight hint of green apples.  Quite fresh and light. Palate:  Sweet malt, grass, burnt barbeque marinade, mixed citrus lollies, and fresh mint & other herbs.  There's a thick layer of strong and sweet peat blanketing everything.  Quite creamy. Mouthfeel:  Slightly less thick than the 1.1, but still what I'd say is mid-weight.  Slightly dry and creamy.  A small amount of burn, but quite a bit less than the 1.1. Finish:  Reasonable length, but shorter than most Octomores.  Quite sweet.  Fresh grass, lemon…
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