Tomintoul Oloroso Sherry

Tomintoul: Oloroso Sherry Finish (Scottish Speyside Single Malt Whisky: 12 Year: 40% ABV)

Visual: Burnished gold.

Viscosity: Mostly middle speed and thickness of streaks.

Nose: Raisins. Prunes. Sulphur and beef broth. Smoke. Quite thick. Bread and butter pudding (with the raisins it may be closer to spotted dick). Treacle touch. Heather. Spiced cherries. With water opens up the spotted dick element.

Body: Very light texture and “gentle” custard touch. Raisins. Floral. Caramel. Christmas spices. Light oak. Water sweetens and brings out spotted dick again. Creamy butter also comes out.

Finish: Mineral heavy water. Raisins. Nutmeg. Light oak that grows. Caramel malt drink. Quite dry. More raisins with water and hangs more in the air.

Conclusion: This really is a gentle dram, so gentle that for years I was put off from ever trying them again, and this expression follows the gentle nature trend. However the promise of Oloroso ageing is what brought me back, and here it does add something to the mix.

It is still very gentle and soft, let’s face it, it is one of the few whiskies where the term “Mineral heavy water” could ever apply. Right out of the gate those first sips were too light and empty for me and I was worrying this was going to be a severely dull whisky.

Those sips seemed odd as the aroma initially seemed much heavier with prunes and smoke notes that were not what I was expecting, even when it smoothed it was stodgy bread and butter pudding with raisins. This bread and butter pudding (or spotted dick) turned out to be the defining note of the whisky, leading in and building up to the body over time in a pleasant fashion. It was still a light whisky but now one with flavours.

There is also a light (and lets face it, everything about this whisky is light) Christmas spice into nutmeg finish going on. With all the elements so light I feared to add water, but I did anyway, an it really opened up the defining bread and butter pudding and creamy texture.

This whisky is still lighter than my preferred style, but with lots of subtle flavour and creaminess that does impress. Maybe I will have to revisit the distilleries other expressions to see if I have underrated them. Here the whisky does have absolutely zero force, but the oloroso sherry is perfectly used to ad flavour to it.

I am, grudgingly, impressed and it has managed to reopen my interest in the distillery.

Background: I ran into Tomintoul many years ago at a World Of Whisky shop at an airport. I was just getting into single malt and I saw a three pack of 5cl samplers of various ages which I grabbed. I didn’t like them much. Then again I was into much heavier and peaty whisky back then, ok, ok I still am, but nowadays I also like the sweeter and smoother drams. So this, the self proclaimed “Gentle Dram”, I’ve been meaning to revisit for a while, see how it holds up these days. Anyway, I saw this oloroso sherry aged mini at “Independent Spirit” and thought it was the perfect time to return to whisky of years past.

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