The Rum Howler Blog

(A Website for Spirited Reviews)

  • Copyright

    Copyright is inherent when an original work is created. This means that the producer of original work is automatically granted copyright protection. This copyright protection not only exists in North America, but extends to other countries as well. Thus, all of the work produced on this blog is protected by copyright, including all of the pictures and all of the articles. These original works may not be copied or reused in any way whatsoever without the permission of the author, Chip Dykstra.
  • Cocktails and Recipes

    Click Image for Awesome Recipes

  • Industry Interviews


    Click the Image for Great Interviews with the Movers of Industry

  • The Rum Howler Interview (Good Food Revolution)

    Click on the Image to see my interview on Good Food Revolution

  • The Rum Howler Blog

  • Rum Reviews

  • Whisky Reviews

  • Gin Reviews

  • Tequila Reviews

  • Vodka Reviews

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 1,069 other subscribers
  • Subscribe

  • Visitors

    • 14,371,730 pageviews since inception
  • Archives

  • Follow The Rum Howler Blog on

Tomatin 18 Year Old (Single Malt)

Review: Tomatin 18 Year Old (Single Malt)   89/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Published on October 03, 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 18 Year Old (Single Malt) is matured for eighteen years in refill oak casks and then finished in Oloroso sherry casks.  The Spirit is bottled at 46 % alcohol by volume.

In the Bottle 4.5/5

The presentation of the Tomatin 18 Year Old is first-rate. The single malt whisky is housed in a smart white 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 8.5/10

Colour: Copper leaning towards bronze

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

Initial Aroma: Smoky influence of sherry wood and oak spice with prunes, raisins and ginger and hints of malt and vanilla

Decanted Aroma: Robust sherry notes, baking spices (particularly cinnamon, allspice and clove), chocolate fudge, and spicy tobacco.

Not quite a sherry bomb, but the influence of the Oloroso casks is on display. Oak spice plays within the fruity sherry notes with the barley malt playing coy in the background.

In The Mouth 53/60

Alcohol push and Spice: Initially smooth and somewhat sweet, however, the 46 % abv. and the oak spice roar into action soon heating the palate creating the impulse for a dab of water or ice.

Initial Taste: Candied fruit with raisins, and dry apricots taking the lead. Oak and ginger spice follow with vanilla and baking spices chasing merrily behind.

Follow up: Sweetened sherry flavours of raisin and prunes gain strength giving me an impression of fruitcake. Lots of vanilla and oak spice as well. A smokiness settles in with tastes of figs and dates, pipe tobacco and mixed nuts. Some marmalade and fudgey chocolate push through as well.

With Ice: The sweetness of the dram is reigned in to some extent which for myself brings about a better overall flavour balance. This is a quibble as the Tomatin 18 Year Old tastes very nice on its own without the ice.

Mixed: An Old Fashioned Cocktail made with Chocolate Bitters rocks the house!

In The Throat: 14/15

Body and Length: Full bodied with a long sweetened finish

Flavours during Swallow: fudgey chocolate and sugared dry fruit

Lingering Flavours: Glowing oak spice mixed with raisins and dates

The Afterburn  9/10

Final Thoughts: The long sweet finish lifts the whisky and its score close to the 90 mark. Those who like Sherried whisky will score this a little higher than me as I usually prefer the bourbon cask. I really enjoyed the old-fashioned with the chocolate bitters (see recipe below).

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 with Chocolate Bitters

1 1/2 oz Tomatin 18 Year Old
1/4 oz  Bols Triple Sec (1:1 ratio)
dash Fees Aztec Chocolate 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)


Tomatin 18 Years Old Oloroso Sherry Finish – Finished in sherry casks. A little sweaty on the nose, with more of that iodine character than the other Tomatin expressions. The body is pure sherry, though. This is a well-matured whisky with a big body and a chewy fruitiness to it. Lots of fresh plums, macerated apricots, and juicy oranges to go around, with a bit of sandalwood on the finish. Big whisky, with lots to like once the odd nose blows away, revealing more of a honey character. Amazing value for an 18 year old whisky. 92 proof. A- / $60

%d bloggers like this: