Aged for 18 years in American and Spanish oak casks, this whisky earned a score of 96 points at the Ultimate Spirits Challenge.
Situated over 1,000 feet above sea level in the foothills of the Monadhliath Mountains, Tomatin Distillery is one of the highest distilleries in Scotland. Its origins date back to the 15th century when drovers, bringing their cattle over the high mountain passes to the Tomatin market, filled their flasks from a still hidden at the Old Laird's House, which is situated adjacent to the distillery. Since that time, centuries of isolation and generations of family tradition (some workers at the distillery are the fifth generation of their family to work there) have created a distillery rooted in Scottish heritage and tradition.
Tomatin 18 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky is made from plump, Scottish barley. After the barley is harvested, it is mashed and fermented before being distilled twice through Tomatin's copper-pot stills. The stills have a round, flat shape that gives the whisky a rounder and sweeter flavor profile, notes Douglas Campbell, Tomatin's master distiller. Campbell, who began working at the distillery in 1961, joined Tomatin as an accountant, doing clerical work. "After that, the managing director, John McDonald, took me under his wing and gave me the chance to work in different parts of the distillery. I did mashing for three or four years, distilling for a couple of years, worked in the warehouses. Eventually, I was one of the charge hands getting casks ready for dispatch."
Campbell has over fifty years of experience at Tomatin Distillery. "My father worked here as a cooper, my wife worked here for 10 years as secretary for the managing director, and my son works here now in the warehouse. I was born in Tomatin, I belong to Tomatin."
Once Campbell has distilled the whisky, it is matured for over 15 years in casks that were previously used to age bourbon. After its initial beautyrest, the whisky is double-barreled, or finished, for a minimum of 18 months in Spanish oak casks that were previously used to mature Oloroso Sherry. The Spanish oak casks contribute notes of red fruits, tobacco and honeyed oak to the whisky, and complement its notes of maple syrup, vanilla, cinnamon and apple. "The combination of flavours and aromas achieved by the use of these differing casks is fantastic," says Graham Eunson, Tomatin's Distillery Manager. "There's always a sense of anticipation and excitement when you experience a potential new whisky for the first time and in this case, those emotions were well justified."
Tomatin 18 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky earned the Double Gold Medal at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition in 2014, and was named the "Best Highland Single Malt (13-20 Years of Age)" at the World Whiskies Awards in 2013. In addition, it earned a score of 96 points at the Ultimate Spirits Challenge in 2012, which called the whisky "extraordinary."
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92 (46% ABV)
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Aroma of sherry, cherries, cinnamon and caramel apples. Notes of maple syrup, vanilla, honeyed oak, sweet malt and heater on the palate. Finish is well-balanced, long and slightly dry, with a touch of citrus.