On Monday I had a review of the first in Tomatin’s Cuatro series of sherry cask releases: the Fino. That post has all the relevant information on the series but if you haven’t read it and are too lazy to click, here’s the crucial bit: all four releases are of whisky distilled on the same day and aged for nine years in ex-bourbon cask and then then re-racked into Fino, Manzanilla, Oloroso and PX casks for another three years each. Unlike the regular 12 yo, these are at 46%. I did not find much overt sherry influence in the Fino release—as such I’ll be surprised to find very much of it in this Manzanilla version. The two sherries are broadly similar—Manzanilla is basically a regionally constrained version of Fino (it can only be made in a particular part of Spain).
Let’s get to it.
Tomatin 12, 2002 (46%; Cuatro 2: Manzanilla; from my own bottle)
Nose: Very similar to the Fino with a bready, porridgy start; the yeasty note in the Fino is more of a putty note here. As it opens up it gets sweeter and it’s maybe a little more floral than fruity (though there is some pear here). Gets drier and saltier as it sits and quite mineral (limestone). Maltier with water and more fruit starts coming through (blueberry, plum).
Palate: Maltier than the Fino to start and the fruit is sweeter (the pear mostly). The malt edges into bready territory on the second sip. Not much oak here. Not much development with time. Water makes it more acidic.
Finish: Medium. Mild and malty here as well. As on the palate with water plus some white pepper at the end. With more time there’s a bit of sherry separation here as well.
Notes: This is rounder than the Fino but is, on the whole, very similar to it. The Fino is fruitier and more acidic, on the whole, and this is maltier and has less oak: they’re closer to each other with water. Like the Fino, this is not what anyone thinks of when they think of sherried whisky. I can’t say I find much to distinguish between them score-wise; it’s mostly a question of nuance. The Manzanilla is more balanced, the Fino has a bit more character (for good and bad).
Rating: 84 points.
(A post-review note: at my local group’s September tasting most had this over the Fino, while noting broad similarities.)