So far this month my whisky reviews have included an entry-level malt available in a few countries (the Highland Park 10) and another entry-level malt available pretty much everywhere (the Macallan 10, Fine Oak). Here now is an entry-level malt that is not available anywhere (other than at auction). This is in case this blog was in danger of becoming useful: you’re welcome!
I purchased a sample of this Tomintoul 8 in Europe. It came from a bottle that looked like this. My understanding is that this style was released in the 1970s and 1980s, which only goes to show that when whisky geeks complain about contemporary whisky in “perfume bottles” they’re being downright ahistorical*. Anyway, this young Tomintoul which may be from 30 years ago (if not more) probably bears very little resemblance to current Tomintoul but it’s always interesting to see what young whisky of earlier eras was like.
Tomintoul 8 (43%; from a purchased sample)
Nose: Mildly grassy, mildly fruity (pear, berries), mildly sweet (vanilla, malt), mildly floral (um, I don’t know my flowers); a little talcum powdery on the second and third sniff.
Palate: Sweet and mild here too but it’s got a surprising bite as I swallow: tart and acidic and just a bit peppery. The mouthfeel is a lot richer than I was expecting. Gets a little chalky as it sits but it’s still well balanced. With more time still there’s more fruit (pear, a bit of peach). About 30 minutes in the chalky note gets just a bit too assertive.
Finish: Medium-long. That acidic note resolves into lemon and keeps going for a while.
Comments: This was a bit of a surprise. I don’t know if the richness of the mouthfeel and the general depth of the nose and palate—both of which were more than I was expecting to find in a 8 yo whisky at 43%—are testament to bygone production methods or to there being much older whisky in the mix here. Anyway, if the current entry-level Tomintoul were as good I’d have it on the go all the time: this is a perfect summer whisky. I forgot to check it out with water.
Rating: 83 points.
*I’m trolling a bit but this is actually true: did you know that Coco Chanel may have designed her perfume bottles to resemble a lover’s whisky decanter?