Tomintoul 14

Tomintoul: 14 Year (Scottish Speyside Single Malt Whisky: 14 Year: 46% ABV)

Visual: Pale grain.

Viscosity: Mainly fast thick streaks.

Nose: Grain fields. Lime cheesecake and marzipan. Some alcohol. Vanilla toffee. Slightly honeyed. Becomes less notable with water.

Body: Light. Honeycomb and a dash of lime. Some alcohol noticeable. Apples. Toffee. Cake sponge. Water removes the alcohol touch and brings out more custard and honey. Sugared almonds and key lime pie.

Finish: Fudge. Custard. Chocolate. Honey. Water adds treacle, key lime and sugared almonds.

Conclusion: I’m glad I returned to Tomintoul. For years I remembered them as a dull and not that interesting, but still with a displeasing alcohol burn. This, drunk years later after a previous pleasing experience with the spirit, and I find that there are so many facets and details that I just didn’t appreciate as a whisky newbie.

It is a very sweet dram, gentle though it may be – toffee, honey and a dash of lime defines your first few moments with it. Very easygoing, subtly setting up each layer upon the previous one, leaving more and more elements that last into a longer and longer finish with each sip.

While I wouldn’t call it the most complex, it does layer up enough, and fills the mouth with a remarkably robust sweetness for such a mild mannered whisky. It has a reasonable amount of play, they are just all centred around the sweet range.

Late on you get green apples joining in, a much needed extra channel of flavour, and a well timed change of pace that creates a very fruity cheesecake dessert feel. I found returning to this a joy, and while not a favourite it reminded me that I should return to drinks and experience them again, to see if they can be re-evaluated and if gems can be found where they were previously not enjoyed.

So a good, if not a loud whisky, an a good lesson to learn.

Background: After trying the recent Oloroso Sherry version of Tomintoul recently, I found my interest in this gentle dram resurging, so picked up this miniature from Independent Spirit. A while, later, having just finished the strange light based puzzler, “Closure” I found myself wishing for a wee dram to celebrate, so broke this open.