Whisky Review – A tale of two drams: Tomatin 12 & Tomatin 15

tomatin logo

Tomatin distillery is one of my recent whisky revelations. Until recently I never gave them more then a quick glance when viewing distilleries lists and maps, but that changed with the help of the #WhiskyFabic gang. I already received sample of Tomatin Legacy which recently won a ‘Silver Outstanding’ award at IWSC 2013 (review is here) and I’ve been constantly preached to by other members (you know who you are…) to try more of this distillery.

With the recent tax reform here in Israel, and the aggressive pricing of the importer (kudos guys!), Tomatin core range is now available here for real good prices and so we managed to bring both Tomatin 12 and Tomatin 15 for the recent tasting event.

Despite both being close age-wise and part of core range, those two are completely different beasts and with different personalities – the Tomatin 12 is matured in a mix of sherry and bourbon casks and married in sherry casks, while the Tomatin 15 is a classic bourbon casks whisky.

So how do they stand up one against each other?

Tomatin 12 (40% ABV, Sherry finished, £28)

tomatin 12Nose: Yummy, very fruity and the sherry notes play strong here led by red berries and raisins – but not dominant – subtle and balanced, also malts notes and some spicy feel.

Palate: Here the oak wood notes are much more dominants along with red berries notes, not much raisins notes here which creates a little different sherry impact then the standard impact I’m used to. At the end I also feel pepper and numeg spices playing along with the rich oak wood notes.

Finish: Medium length, lingering oak, berries and nutmeg – love that combo.

Tomatin 15 (43% ABV, Bourbon cask, £41)

tomatin 15Nose: Fruity, I even mistakenly thought it’s sherry finished on first sniff before it went more floral and bourbon effects of vanilla and oak. rich and creamy.

Palate: quite a different story then the younger sibling – dryer, showing strong flavors of oak and vanilla with the oak notes being a bit on the bitter side. also felt honey and coconut notes toward the end.

Finish: a bit short with strong oak notes and some topping of vanilla cream.

Conclusion: It’s really a matter of personal taste. The Tomatin 12 is more rich and sweeter (sherry impact or not?), while the Tomatin 15 is more dryer, malty and full of oak notes. During that highlands tasting session, I preferred the Tomatin 12 but I’ve nothing against the Tomatin 15 – I’d sip the Tomatin 15 again when I’ll feel the crave for malty, bouborny whisky. Overall, those are two rock solid entry-level bottles from Tomatin (both won awards at IWSC 2013 as well) and now I’ll be eagerly waiting to taste the higher end 18/25/30 bottles. Slàinte!

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