Tomintoul is one of those distilleries that slips under many a drinker’s radar. Maybe because it’s not all that well-known to the newcomer; and for whisky geeks they’re perhaps not all that interested in it because of its statement of producing “the gentle dram”. Let’s face it – geeks like are either after the whiskies that turn heads and get the pulse going a little more, or those that are all about small-scale authenticity. Tomintoul is neither.
Two Glasgwegian whisky traders, W. & S. Strong & Co. and Hay & HacLeod & Co, founded the Tomintoul Distillery Ltd in 1964. A decade later it passed into the hands of Whyte & Mackay before eventually coming into ownership under Angus Dundee Ltd, who began to expand the range of Tomintoul single malts. The distillery uses steam-heated stills (2 wash and 2 spirit stills), and knocks-out over 3 million litres of spirit each year. That’s a lot, and much of it ends up in blended whisky – as it has done for its entire life.
Anyway, the Tomintoul 25 Years Old is a relatively new addition to its stable of single malts – which range from 10 to 33 years in the standard range at the moment. Bottled at 43% ABV, a bottle of the Tomintoul 25 Years Old costs £180.
In the mouth: lovely texture – very oily and viscous, but the texture is pretty much the only thing to get excited about. There are many classic notes here that follow the nose: it’s grassy, malty, chewy. Just a touch of honey to indicate sweetness. Dried hops and digestive biscuits. Sweet apples. Toasted almonds. There’s a little touch of bitterness from the wood, but the whole thing is very approachable and mellow. However, it just feels as if the casks selected for this were not very good at all – and I suppose finding the best casks possible aren’t a priority if you’re churning it out for blends.
This is not worth £180, let’s be clear. I find that price laughable. The whisky is perfectly pleasant, don’t get me wrong. This is all about lazy summer afternoon light with retro Instagram filters over your taste buds, quite clearly.
But it fails to stir the soul.