The original plan was to do a rugby themed review and post a doubleheader on the day of the match between Scotland and England. After all, this would be potentially the only possible avenue for a Scottish victory unless the boys in blue delivered a Jura – sorry – stinker of a performance and left a nation wondering why?
Sport is one thing were form tends to be reasonably predictable but in whisky once you step away from safety and mundaneness of an official range, you’re left to really explore the ups and downs of the independent bottlers. For Tormore this is the only realistic option. Like so many within the Chivas stable its been rather overlooked and underappreciated.
My own thoughts drift towards GlenAllachie and its recent acquisition by the consortium led by Billy Walker. On the eve of its 50th Anniversary it remains fairly unknown and offers a clean slate for its new owners. There will be casks of delight – much like most distilleries – amongst the average and the disappointing within those warehouses. We’ll no doubt find out, with GlenAllachie soon as the familiar approach of an annual release takes root. Whereas for Tormore and many of its brethren, they remain locked into the mind set of their corporate ownership. There are blends to support and chores to be done. The odd promise of a single cask release as part of its distillery exclusive range might sustain some interest yet for most onlookers these distilleries are unknowns.
So we must look elsewhere and the independent realm is buzzing with new arrivals and established names. Currently there is room for everyone but the sands of time will change direction and only the strong will survive. That’s for the future but for now as a consumer you’re surrounded by choice. The big names such as Cadenhead’s, Douglas Laing and Gordon & MacPhail to highlight an established trio, have weathered the storms before and will survive again. Smaller, less enabled bottlers who may rely on demand for each existing release or a clutch of casks will have to tread more carefully. In the case of the Boutique-y Whisky Company its a different proposition with a retail backer and a distinctive approach. A visit to their website will confirm an impressive stream of releases with more to come.
For a while now I’ve debated the 50cl approach after the disappointment of the Mortlach Rare & Unsold range that is gathering dust at a retailer near you. Recently on Malt we’ve been reviewing whiskies from across Europe and the majority of these official distillery bottlings are 50cl. The same applies to the forthcoming debut GlenAllachie releases. However, the most prominent exponent of this size within the UK is Boutique-y.
Whenever I review a 50cl we do the maths to place it within a 70cl price setting. It’s only fair and allows a numerical comparison. For instance this Tormore Batch 3 is priced online at £92.95 or after the maths £130.13. We don’t have a 21 to make a direct comparison but there’s a 25 year old for £110 or £250, a 26yo for £180 or a 28yo for £150. Ultimately an unsettled market for one of Speyside’s rising stars, but confirmation that the pricing is reasonable.
I remember another independent bottler when asked about their choice of 50cl suggested that it reflected the whiskies they had drank personally, where they’d almost empty the bottle but were always left with 20cl or so before losing interest. My own thoughts are that if you’re that far into a bottle then it must be doing something right. Still, if the 50cl size allows for a lower price that attracts new enthusiasts into the realm and enables others to try more whiskies with an reduced outlay this should be seen as only a good thing.
This specific Tormore is an outturn of 149 bottles, bottled at 46.8% strength and probably won’t be around for long debuting in February 2018. We’ll post this review around just as the Scotland versus England rugby match is kicking off. For the record I’ll be attending the Glasgow Rare & Old show that’ll be drawing to a close around the same time. Victory for Scotland? Only time will tell.
Tormore 21 year old Batch 3 – review
Colour: a badly faded tan
On the nose: very light presentation, a pear emphasis but not the thrust you’d normally see from Tormore. This is more restrained yet lets other characteristics come through such as elderflower, liquorice, white chocolate, bubblegum and aniseed. A twist of lime takes us back to more familiar ground with apples and walnuts.
In the mouth: it’s the texture that grabs with its silky nature. Then pear drops, almonds, vanilla icing and green apples towards the finish. There’s a lovely creaminess here with a hint of grapefruit and Kiwi fruit.
A solid Tormore with some interesting flashes of a distinctive personality. Nothing to grumble about here unless you’re a Tormore addict like myself who knows when you’re confronted by a special Tormore. This isn’t one but I still find it quite enjoyable nevertheless and a solid entry. Here’s looking forward to Batch 4.
It looks like a draw between Scotland and England. Hopefully the rugby match is just as compelling.
My thanks to the Boutique-y Whisky Company for the sample and photograph
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