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Tomatin 15 Year Old (Single Malt)

Review: Tomatin 15 Year Old (Single Malt)   88.5/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Published on July 11, 2018

The Tomatin Distillery is located in the Monadhliath Mountains near Inverness, the capital of the Highlands of Scotland. The Distillery was established in 1897. (For those who do not know, the term “established in 1897″ is a code term which represents an acknowledgement by the distillery that the company began to legally pay taxes on the spirits it produced in that year. When the Distillery actually began to produces spirits is not acknowledged.) Because of its location in the Monadhliath Mountains, Tomatin is one of the highest distilleries (elevation wise) in Scotland at 315 metres above sea level. In 1985 as the Distillery was expanded and was at that time renamed, The Tomatin Distillery Co Ltd.. The company now operates 12 stills, in a process which perhaps more closely resembles a large-scale industrial factory rather than a typical Single Malt Distillery. This is because the distillery has always been a large-scale producer of whisky for Scotland’s major blends. However, Tomatin has recently began to focus their efforts on also producing their own Single Malt Whisky as well as establishing their own brand identity.

The Tomatin 15 Year Old (Single Malt) has for the most part been discontinued in most major markets. It is the only whisky in the core lineup that was fully matured ex-Bourbon casks, with no finishing.  The Spirit is bottled at 43 % alcohol by volume.

In the Bottle 4.5/5

The presentation of the Tomatin 15 Year Old is first-rate. The single malt whisky is housed in a smart red and black box. The box and bottle label use a colour and font scheme which are clear and easy to read. I love the added touch of tasting notes on the back label of the box and the back label of the bottle. I have always maintained that because of the large variance in style and flavour of Scottish Single Malt Whiskies, the customers have a right to know the expected flavour profile before they make their purchase decision.

In the Glass 9/10

Colour: Beautiful Golden Hue

Legs: Medium fat droplets which develop into medium-sized legs which fall slowly

Initial Aroma: oak spice, ginger, orange peel, butterscotch, vanilla and almond. Also a very light grassiness reminding me of heather and mint

Decanted Aroma: Robust grain and firm wood, bits of straw and hay, butterscotch and malt grain sweetness, green apples, apricots. Orange Peel is moving towards marmalade. Grassy tobacco and menthol.

The Whisky shows great evolution in the glass as the various components merge and meld over time. I let the glass breathe a full 15 minutes and the wait was worth it.

In The Mouth 53/60

Alcohol push and Spice: Although oak spice taps the tonsils the dram remains relatively smooth with very little alcohol bite.

Initial Taste:Oak and ginger spice and firm barley grain with leather and burlap and a touch of bitterness which tastes like citus pith.

Follow up: The whisky remains dry in the mouth with only a light build-up of butterscotch and a mild malt grain sweetness. Green grapes, apple and pear, vanilla, cinnamon, citrus zest and marmalade, poplar sap and willow bark, timothy hay, and a firm undercurrent of almond.

With Ice: The dram becomes creamy with the wood spice reigned in.

Mixed: An Old Fashioned Cocktail made with Fees Whiskey Barrel Aged Bitters tastes very nice!

In The Throat: 13/15

Body and Length: Medium bodied at best with a mid-length lingering finish

Flavours during Swallow: barley grain and malt whisky, oak spice

Lingering Flavours: Light butterscotch sweetness, vanilla, green apples, glowing oak spice

The Afterburn  9/10

Final Thoughts: This is a very nice whisky. Robust grain and oak flavours grow in the glass and the malt whisky retains its structure and balance through the evolution process. It doesn’t quite make it into the vaunted 90+ territory but its close.

You may read some of my other Whisky Reviews (click the link) if you wish to have some comparative reviews.


Suggested Recipe:

Old Fashioned Cocktail

1 1/2 oz Tomatin 15 Year Old
1/4 oz  Sugar Syrup (1:1 ratio)
dash Fees Barrel Aged Bitters
2 large Ice Cubes
Twist of Orange Peel

Add the first four ingredients to a rocks glass over the ice cubes
Rub the cut edge of the orange peel over the rim of the glass and twist it over the drink. (This will release the oil from the orange zest into the drink)
Drop the peel into the cocktail if desired.

Please Enjoy Responsibly!

If  you are interested in more of my original cocktail recipes, please click this link (Cocktails and Recipes) for more of my mixed drink recipes!


As always you may (loosely) interpret the scores I provide as follows:

0-25 A spirit with a rating this low would actually kill you.
26-49 Depending upon your fortitude you might actually survive this.
50 -59 You are safe to drink this…but you shouldn’t.
60-69 Substandard swill which you may offer to people you do not want to see again.
70-74 Now we have a fair mixing rum or whisky.  Accept this but make sure it is mixed into a cocktail.
75-79 You may begin to serve this to friends, again probably still cocktail territory.
80-84 We begin to enjoy this spirit neat or on the rocks. (I will still primarily mix cocktails)
85-89 Excellent for sipping or for mixing!
90-94 Definitely a primary sipping spirit, in fact you may want to hoard this for yourself.
95-97.5 The Cream of the Crop
98+ I haven’t met this bottle yet…but I want to.

Very loosely we may put my scores into terms that you may be more familiar with on a Gold, Silver, and  Bronze medal  scale as follows:

70 – 79.5    Bronze Medal (Recommended only as a mixer)
80 – 89.5     Silver Medal (Recommended for sipping and or a high quality mixer)
90 – 95         Gold Medal (Highly recommended for sipping and for sublime cocktails.)
95.5+            Platinum Award (Highest Recommendation)

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