We stepped into the world of Patreon without too much ambition. A soft launch, letting the keen-eyed discover what is an extension of what we offer here daily. Low expectations were set around what is a new way and format of supporting and resourcing something you enjoy. The reasoning was aptly laid out by Mark in his initial launch piece.
Our initial vision was simply to cover the hosting costs and any technical support. That’d be nice and till I stepped onboard, Mark was funding all this himself. However, we’re surprised to say it has gone way beyond our wildest dreams and this brings with it new opportunities. Receiving that virtual pat on the back from supporters, all of whom are united in their appreciation of what the team produces here has gone down well with the Malt writers. Personally, I’ve been humbled by the whole experience. Worldwide support including some friends who I said it wasn’t necessary, have still wanted to offer a token of their support. Thank you once again each and every one of you.
Our Patreon offering is pretty simplistic currently, but well-formed. Everyone receives the daily update of what’s coming tomorrow along with any bonus pieces and insights that we can offer. It is fair to say we’ve talked about doing more and expanding the offering and hopefully can return to ideas this during the autumn. Already we’ve added first impression videos and initial reactions. For the price of a mere magazine, you have that access. One drawback is we’d like to offer whisky to our foreign supporters but the rules around postage have prevented this, but maybe something else may suffice? For the fortunate UK residents, we’ve sent out a bonus sample and our own Patreon bottle pick which we’ll come to later in this piece. Our staunchest supporters have received a pack of these 2 samples plus 3 others from the Malt stockade. We’ll roll these out again during February with more delights contained within.
Currently, we have 34 supporters pledging $237 monthly, which is way more than we ever expected. All the costs of the Patreon rewards have been covered for some time leaving us free to now do something that was a mere figment of our imagination until this month. Yes, we’ll be paying all of our writers a standard monthly bonus for their work as a thank you from everyone. It’s not a life-changing amount but the gesture has been positively received by the team backstage and just underlines we’re trying to be different here.
For an independent site, Patreon ensures our independence. There’s no reliance on back scratching, advertising from key accounts – who just happen to be whisky producers – which plagues the traditional magazine format or reliance on sponsored content. We’re ad-free, brand-free and itch-free. To some out there that makes us dangerous and different. We’ve ripped up the nonsense of the 100 point scoring and returned to sound mathematical values. We’re not afraid to score an average whisky 5 because that’s the actual average believe it or not. Bringing back a sense of realism to whisky without all the nonsense we’re seeing online.
Let’s get down to business with our Patreon bottle pick. This was a difficult choice and is hopefully the first of many such decisions for our supporters. For weeks Mark and I discussed possibilities, in the end I whittled it down to a trio of contenders. We wanted something cask strength and as natural as possible. Also high on the priority list was exclusivity. A whisky that there was little chance of anyone trying previously without busting the budget – sorry, no Black Bowmore here folks. Then recalling my recent promise to drop by after reviewing the Tomatin 2005 Distillery exclusive cask, a foray up north presented the perfect opportunity.
In fact, we’ve had several distillery exclusives from this Highland survivor that have impressed. Yes, these have been mostly of the sherry variety so instead, we plucked for the almost 12 year old bourbon cask offering. Priced at £70 it offers value without breaking the bank, oddly with the virgin oak option costing £5 more at the distillery. Younger, more wood obsessed and driven, we opted for the classic choice. Distilled on 5th October 2006, before bottled on 15th July 2018 from cask #4182, we hope it goes down with our supporters. We’ll also find out in a moment as part of the supporter package offered the opportunity – if you wanted – to provide tasting notes and a couple have stepped up to offer their thoughts alongside my own.
Tomatin 2006 Distillery Exclusive Cask – Ronnie’s review
Colour: well I forgot about that and its all gone now, maybe a straw colour but the room was a little dark.
On the nose: into glass initially gives a punch of aroma, almost perfumed with pine cones, barley sugar and pineapple. As my nose recovers, I get the lighter notes of cream soda (Barrs), gooseberry, greengage and old lemonade. The bottom notes remind me of those nursery trays with a playdoh and Crayola. Wow, the nose is magic I could have this unsipped for awhile.
In the mouth: an explosion of zesty fruit with lemons and limes and some tropical fruit. Then a rise in heat like the fireball jawbreakers which gladly subsides into an expensive M&S custard, Tarte au citron, white pepper and ginger spice. I’m also getting a mineral quality like granite ( I love sniffing Aberdeen walls). Maybe not quite as good as the nose, but it sure is a mouthful.
For after we are back Crayolae of that crayola and an earthy quality. Very creamy with some hints of wood resin and leaving me finally with that fruity zest.
I really enjoyed this whisky and would easily drink more than the sample I was kindly given.
Tomatin 2006 Distillery Exclusive Cask – Jason’s review
On the nose: a noticeable waxiness and wonderfully so. Apples with cardamon, fresh marzipan and figs. Vanilla custard, barley sweets, a slight dusty aspect moves into a creamy caramel dynamic. Cereal notes, coconut and a black tea with bursts of citrus notes. A very enticing and layered nose.
In the mouth: very fruity and evolving. A fair amount of wood spice in here as well, but the whisky retains a nice balance. This a good cask with an equal partner in the spirit. A chalky aspect, white chocolate, apricots, Tonka bean and orange peel before the cask takes over proceedings.
Plucked from the cask at the right time. Sometimes you debate whether the distillery exclusives merely fill shelf space or do the team pick out the best? Here I do think the reward is an excellent one for visitors. Even at cast strength, this is dangerously drinkable and well priced. A good opening whisky for our Patreon supporters.
Tomatin 2006 Distillery Exclusive Cask – Taylor’s review
Colour: Medium-pale burnished copper color.
On the nose: Estery nose, with some intense rosewater aromatics. There are nuances of mint, key line, the milky sweetness of Cadbury’s chocolate, a green grassy note, some bubblegum, and lots of warmly, sweetly woody smells from the Bourbon cask.
In the mouth: This enters hot, with intense concentration. Turning vigorously citric at midpalate, this ends with a sharp, piquantly woody note.
Lots going on here. High-quality Highland malt, and interesting enough that I’d be tempted to pick up a bottle of their OB 12 Year Old.
Our thanks to our Patreon supporters and those that contributed tasting notes. We’ll do it again shortly after the next wave of rewards are dispatched in February.