Please excuse me as I start a small run of reviews of progressively older malts, few, if any, of which are still available. If I were Serge I’d post all of them together on one day and have another 27 over the new few days but I am a mere human.
First up is this Tomatin 25, bottled a few years ago by the German outfit, Malts of Scotland. Older Tomatin can be very good indeed. I rather liked the old Tomatin 25, a malt that—at 43% abv—probably never sent too many whisky geeks’ pulses racing. I liked even more this Tomatin 25, 1975 bottled by MacKillop’s choice. Even though late-80s Tomatin does not have the reputation of mid-70s Tomatin, I expect to like this one too as the aforementioned Serge’s review, as well as the tasting notes on Whiskybase, lead me to expect a very fruity whisky and that’s my favourite kind these days. Let’s see if reality matches expectations.
Tomatin 25, 1988 (53.7%; Malts of Scotland; sherry hogshead MoS 14026; from a purchased sample)
Nose: A little spirity and not terribly expressive at first or second sniff. As it sits some citrus begins to emerge (lemon peel) along with some oak which gets spicier as it goes (rye). No sherry influence to speak of. With more time there’s pineapple but the oak is still the top note. After about 15 minutes the oak finally settles down and lets the citrus and pineapple come to the fore. Water brings the spice back to the fore but the fruit’s still there—and after a bit it actually seems muskier (peach).
Palate: Much nicer arrival here! Citrus and oak and pepper and a bit of smoke. Actually, I’m not sure that’s smoke—tastes more like spicy oak on the second sip. Thick texture. No obvious sherry notes here either. More fruit here too with time but the spicy oak sticks around. Spicier with water but also fruitier—and as on the nose there’s now peach mixed in with the citrus.
Finish: Long. It’s the spicy oak that has the most to say here. With time and air the fruit begins to hang out here too but it’s still quite spicy here. Better balance of fruit and spice here too with water.
Comments: I have to say that my experience of this whisky is not identical to Serge’s or most of the (few) reviewers on Whiskybase. I did not find it to be “extravagantly fruity” off the bat and actually found better balance of fruit and spice with water (I added a big splash). On the whole, I slightly preferred the old OB 25 yo.
Rating: 86 points. (Pulled up by water.)