Tomatin 21, 1991 (C&S)

Tomatin 21, 1991, C&S
I purchased these samples almost a year ago and have been meaning to get to a review pretty much every month since. Here it is now. I know very little about the bottlers, C&S. I believe they’re another German outfit, but unlike their more bespoke fellow citizens, The Whisky Agency or Malts of Scotland, they offer pretty fair value. And my small sample size would indicate that this is not because they’re bottling any damn thing. I enjoyed very much the Glenglassugh 40, 1972 that they put out a couple of years ago, and if the only other of their bottles that I’ve reviewed (a Tullibardine) was nothing great, it was also not bad. And I’d say the same of Tomatin: my experience of their whisky has also risen on occasion to some exceptional peaks but has not fallen into the valley of regret.

Let’s hope this whisky—from a sherry cask—keeps my streaks with both the distillery and the bottler alive.

Tomatin 21, 1991 (55.7%; C&S Dram Collection; sherry butt 12488; from a purchased sample)

Nose: A bit spirity at first but then it gets fruity fast: sweet apples, berries and cream. After a minute there’s some muskier fruit (papaya, a bit of mango) and a lot more cream/custard. A bit grassy too but it works with all the rest. The sweetness keeps expanding and gets a bit cloying after a bit. Even more creamy and cloying with water.

Palate: Leads with the fruit and there’s some fried plantain as well along with the stuff on the nose. Nice velvety texture. Increasingly peppery and some melon joins the other fruit after a bit. And, as on the nose, the grassy note shows up as well. With a lot more time the fruit gets quite concentrated. With water the tropical note from the nose shows up and there’s some lime zest too now; but the grassiness expands as well.

Finish: Medium. Nothing new develops: the fruit and the pepper fade out. Longer and zestier with water.

Comments: My interest in this was mostly to see what beginning-to-be-old Tomatin from later eras is like. I realize that a single cask is not terribly representative but it was interesting enough from that point of view—I think this suggests that 25-35 yo Tomatin released in the next ten years may well get people as happy as the stuff from the 1970s does. For what this was when bottled it’s far from those heights but it’s very pleasant (and seemingly was on its way to becoming a fruit bomb if left alone a few more years): a good dessert whisky. Just a little too cloying on the nose for my liking.

Rating: 87 points.

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