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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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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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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Bruichladdich: Octomore 2.2

Bruichladdich Octomore 2.2

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Nose:  Wet timber, moss, ripe grapes, and mixed red-berry jam.  Also, unusually for an Octomore, there is quite a prominent amount of newmake spirit and paint-stripper on the nose.  Also a hint of some portwine jelly.  Given a bit of a breather, the paint-stripper and newmake spirit dies right off, with the berries and jelly becoming far more prominent. Palate:  Very sweet, with a hint of peat.  The grapes and mixed red-berry jam from the nose are quite bold on the palate.  Thankfully the paint stripper has departed, although there is still a hint of some newmake spirit at the…

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Bruichladdich: Octomore 4.1

Bruichladdich Octomore 4.1

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Nose: Peaty, and salty.  Damp earth, and very slightly floral.  Not as peaty as you'd expect.  Quite clean, and not overly complicated on the nose. Palate: Straight up front you are absolutely belted with peat and cereal notes.  Sledgehammer to the tastebuds time.  After the sledgehammer is put away you get notes of ocean spray, bushfire smoke, and fresh tar.  Faint notes of vanilla and dried apple, but also a decent dose of pepper.  There's the tiniest trace of the dust that is left at the bottom of a bowl of beer nuts.  The peat lingers across the entire palate,…

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Bruichladdich: Octomore 4.2

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Nose:  Honey snaps (biscuits), malt, vegetal peat, wet leather, and something strangely like jalapenos and over-ripe green grapes.  Sweet yet also tangy at the same time.  Also some floral notes hovering around the back, and a faint traces of vanilla pods and fresh cut grass. Palate:  Creamed honey, vanilla, and a strange mixture of something florally and briny vegetal-peat notes.  Super sweet, yet also quite peppery. There's also some pear cider and lemon zest floating around, and some candied ginger - and just a touch of Kakadu plum. Mouthfeel:  Mid-heavy weight, and very slightly both oily and syrupy.  A bit…

The Ninja's numbers - A completely subjective score.

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