February 8, 2017

Tomatin 12 Year Old

For many the Tomatin 12 Year Old is a staple single malt whisky. I’m sure if I raided people’s whisky cabinets I would find quite a few people owning this bottle. Many consider it a great entry level single malt and a good recommendation for baby-steps towards sherried malts. Tomatin 12 Year Old is aged in ex-bourbon casks, and then finished for 6 to 9 months in Oloroso sherry casks, so the theory is that the sherry will be present without being overwhelming.

Tomatin 12 Year Old

I’ve purchased a few bottles of the Tomatin 12 Year Old in my time to enjoy as an easy to drink dram rather than a “tasting dram”. I don’t think I’ve ever written down any tasting notes for this dram… well let’s change that today.

In 2014 Tomatin decided to increase their bottling strength from 40%abv to 43%abv and then in 2016 gave their whole line-up a fresh, new design. I will be reviewing this newer design 43%abv edition.

Whisky Info

Distillery: Tomatin
Region: Highlands
Category: Single Malt
Style: Unpeated
Price: $$
Bottler: Distillery Bottling
Bottled: 2016
Bottle Code: L 15 06 16 3 22:58 BB
Strength: 43%abv
Age: 12 Years Old
Mashibill: 100% Malted Barley
Cask: Ex-Bourbon Cask Matured & Finished in Ex-Oloroso Sherry Casks*

*Tomatin 12 is finished for 6 to 9 months in Ex-Oloroso sherry casks.

Review & Tasting Notes

2.8 Whisky Fiend

Colour: Light Gold.

Nose: Starts with Cereal & oak. Lots of cereal. Then comes ripe apple and a bit of sourness. No big burst of fruit sweetness though.
Surprisingly I get vegetal mossy and iodine characters… which I didn’t get in the 40%abv… I like it.
After some time there’s a nice hit of spice (nutmeg) and some citrus (orange).

No noseburn at the new 43%abv, but it does smell fuller.

Mouthfeel: Medium body. Not as rich or oily as I was expecting but has a nice subtle dryness.

Palate: Lots of orange and brown sugar (candied oranges). Some raisins. Chocolate bitterness with a touch of sherry sweetness. Quite malty.

Finish: Dry, fresh finish. Short and clean. Raisins.


Tomatin 12 is a decent whisky, especially for the price. It’s has a really pleasant nose (but it may not suit all), it’s nicely balanced without being “smooth”. This is a pretty good example of ex-bourbon cask that is finished in sherry and I would consider it an easy drinking whisky.

While I have no tasting notes to compare back to the older edition of the Tomatin 12 Year Old, I can tell you that I prefer this edition. It seems that Tomatin are slowly improving their drams, while keeping the price approximately the same. That’s a good deal.

About Tomatin

Tomatin is located in the Northern Highlands and has a long and storied history. Built in 1897, Tomatin increased capacity from 2 stills to 23 stills by 1986, which made it the largest malt distillery in Scotland at the time; primarily making malt whisky for the blending industry.

In 1986 Tomatin became the first Scottish distillery to be purchased by a Japanese company. Seeing the change in the industry, Tomatin moved towards making less malt for blending and more for single malt. Today Tomatin has 12 stills and is making strides towards fighting a reputation as a “blender’s malt”. Tomatin now uses a long fermentation as well as a combination of ex-bourbon and ex-sherry maturations along with interesting finishes. Tomatin now even make peated whisky for one week per year for their Cù Bòcan range.

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