Tomatin means the Hill of the Juniper Bush in Gaelic ("tom-aiteann"), and situated at over 1,000 is is no small hill! The first distillery here, just off the A9 some 10 miles south of Inverness, was built in 1897 by a group of local businessmen trading as Tomatin Spey District Distillery Company Ltd. The went into liquidation in 1906, but the distillery was reopened by the New Tomatin Distillers Company Ltd in 1909.
The distillery was extended from two stills to fours in 1956, two more were added in 1958, four in 1961, one in 1961 and a staggering further twelve still added in 1974 as well as dark-grains plant. With 23 stills, Tomatin now had the greatest capacity of any malt whisky distillery - 12m L.P.A (liters per annum). The distillery operated at this capacity for a small period in the mid 70's, consuming 600 tonnes of malt per week! Production was dramatically cut in the 1980's and 11 stills were removed in 1997 & 1998.
Tomatin Distillery was forced into liquidation a second time in 1984 however, thanks to the popularity of Scotch whisky in Japan during the 1980's, was purchased by the joint Japanese concern - the Takara Shuzo Company and Okura & Company. Both of which had been purchasing wholesale whisky from Tomatin for a long time.
This marked the first time a Japanese company had entered the Scotch whisky industry. Okura & Company was later replaced by Marubeni in 2000 and the consortium was then added Japanese distributors Kokubu in 2006.
Until 2012, Tomatin was mainly used to produce blends such as Antiquary and Talisman as well as stock for a variety of distilleries throughout Scotland. Since this time a core range of four malts have been launched very successfully onto the world stage. Tomatin have even launched a peated expression: Cu Bocan. Cu Bocan is derived from the name of a spectral hound that haunts the moors around Tomatin.
Tomatin 15 Year Old Single Malt Whisky - Strength: 43% ABV
Overview - Soft and delicate but with a significant influence from the North American oak.
Aroma - Light and fresh. Citrus fruits, vanilla, fruit cake. Oak prominent throughout.
Taste - Good balance. Smooth, medium body, delicate honey and mild orange.
Finish – Quite long; lingers on the palate.
Cask - Matured in refill American Oak casks.
Tomatin 18 Year Old Single Malt Whisky - Strength: 46% ABV
Overview - The heavily sherried Tomatin 18 year old is full bodied and packed with flavour. After spending time maturing in traditional oak casks, this particular Tomatin spends the last two and a half years of its maturation in Oloroso Sherry casks. This is an exquisite whisky with a velvety smooth mouth feel.
Aroma - Delicious sweet sherry bursts upon you, and plateaus with undertones of fresh apples, cinnamon, vanilla, maple syrup and a hint of smoky heather.
Palate - Sweet and honeyed at first, with an oaky edge. Develops in the mouth with a bite of citrus and a hint of dark chocolate.
Finish - Long, sweet and slightly dry.
Cask - Matured in a combination of Bourbon barrels and Oloroso Sherry casks
Tomatin Cask Strength Edition Single Malt Whisky
Overview - This whisky is the first Cask Strength expression to be added to the Tomatin Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky core range, allowing us to showcase the true Tomatin style in its most natural state - natural colour, no chill filtration, full strength. Batch 1 was released in February 2015 at 57.5%. A marriage of full maturation Bourbon and Oloroso Sherry casks, it is spicy, sweet and smooth and an excellent addition to the range.
Aroma - Golden syrup. Orange and lemon. Pears. Walnuts. Ginger biscuits. Gets sweeter with time.
Palate - Marzipan, burnt sugar. Toasted malt loaf. Chestnuts. Polished leather. Vanilla flavoured tobacco.
Finish - Dry, with a developing spiciness.
Cask Type - Matured in a combination of Bourbon barrels and Oloroso Sherry casks
Tomatin 14 Single Malt Whisky
Overview: Added to the core range in 2014, the Tomatin 14 year old is soft and smooth with significant sweet influence from the Port casks. After spending time maturing in traditional oak casks, this particular Tomatin spends the last eighteen months of its maturation exclusively in Port pipes.
Aroma - Honeydew melon, red berries, baked apples. Rich toffee, butterscotch. Sweet honey and bitter dark chocolate.
Palate - Fruit and nut. Peaches, apricots, mango and plum. Mixed Walnut and Pecan.
Finish - Smooth fruit salad which lingers on the palate.
Cask Type - Matured in a combination of Bourbon barrels and Port casks
That's it folk's! This months tasting has been a real treat but its all over. We hope you enjoyed the Tomatin sample tasting pack :)