Tomintoul 10

Tomintoul 10 (Scottish Speyside Single Malt Whisky: 10 Year: 40% ABV)

Visual: Very pale grain.

Viscosity: Very fast, medium thickness streaks.

Nose: Grain fields. Alcohol tingle is noticeable. Vanilla. Wet heather. Lime. Light sulphur. Water adds a subdued gherkin prickle instead of the alcohol one.

Body: Smooth. Light lime sorbet. Cake sponge and vanilla. Light custard. Water sweetens, adding sugar dusting and light toffee.

Finish: Light alcohol tingle. Brown bread. Lime. Cake sponge. Chocolate. Soft lemon. Water loses the alcohol tingle.

Conclusion: Been a while, Tomintoul was one of the first single malts I tried. In fact, this exact one, the ten year, is the first single malt I distinctly remember paying attention to while drinking. Well, first Scottish single malt anyway. As mentioned in the background – I didn’t take to it. However there has been a nigh whisky lifetime between then and now, and I have found some Tomintouls I enjoy, so, returning to this one I find it…..?

Eh, still not a favourite. With water it has some play though, unlike taking it neat where it seems to contradict its raison d’etre as “the gentle dram” by having a bit of a cheap spirit alcohol burn top and tail. However thankfully water deals with that.

With water it is gentle, like cake sponge crumbling on the tongue in dram form, with soft toffee notes. The water doesn’t add much, so much as much as make pleasant, but it is pretty much the definition of gentle whisky. Now for me the other expressions from this distillery offer more of what I would like, still the gentle dram, but with a twist. This, like several other gentle whiskys, feels more like a base that can be built on rather than a decent whisky in itself. Admittedly it is a very proficient base, with water this just glides down, but it doesn’t make much of an impression as it does so.

So, eh, not a favourite, but it is still interesting to return to this after all this time, and after finding other whiskys from the same distillery that I like. It is like a guide to where they started from, which was a nice moment in itself.

Background: “The gentle dram” as it is so called. I ran into this ten year expression many years ago when I was first getting into single malt, it was part of a Tomintoul mini three pack. I wasn’t impressed. Anyway, since then I have grown to respect a wider range of whisky so though I would give it another go. This was picked up from “Independent Spirit“, and was drunk while listening to the “Super Meat Boy” soundtrack, because obviously I like to be reminded of times of my own suffering.