Tasting Notes: Tomatin 12

We’ve already reviewed Trader Joe’s Tomatin 10 (available in CA), and Dan didn’t have much love for it. But fortunately for the right-most 95% of the country (and the rest of the drinking world), Tomatin has an extremely affordable official 12 year old release into which they clearly put a lot of work. Tomatin, in the Monadh Liath Mountains outside of Inverness, is at once one of the highest ditilleries (in terms of elevevation) in Scotland and one of the largest, with 12 working stills. Most of their distillate goes into blends such as Antiquary, but since around 2008 they have been increasing their output of various single malt expressions. This 12 year old comes from a lightly peated malting and is finished in sherry butts.

Tomatin 12 year old

Abv: 43%

Color: gasoline… in a good way.

Legs: medium beads (a little bit tight), with a kinda slow descent; not bad.

Nose: fresh cherries; slightly floral (rose petals; honeysuckle); a subtle maltiness; some pine notes; and then a little perfume, pineapples, and stewed apples develop with aeration.

Palate: nice honey, a good dose of vanilla malt; nuts (cashews?), a few spices, and then a nice amount of light and heathery smoke developing in the middle to end.

Body: medium; a touch flabby, with a watery front end, but still a good bit rounded and decent overall.

Finish: not huge; very subtle toffee at first, and then some very dried berries linger for a bit more, and numbing if you drink enough (which is easy to do).

Overall: Enjoyable. A handful of pleasant flavours to ponder, and perfect for someone starting to get into Scotch since it hits a few different notes but is immensely easy to imbibe. There’s a nice subtlety to the taste; and yet it still imparts a balanced variety. I almost want to say that this is the poor man’s Highland Park, what with its heathery peat and hint of sherry maturation… not to belittle it, though: Hanley Ramirez was once known as the poor man’s Jose Reyes. For the price ($29), a gem. Dollar-blind… not amazing, but still nice.