Blind Tasting #11: Tomintoul 2005 12 Years
The high ABV and pretty active cask of this Tomintoul 2005 12 Years Single Cask fooled me into thinking it was a much younger dram than it actually is. Bottled for the 100th Anniversary of importer De Monnik Dranken, it is a fruity single malt with lots of potential.
From the very first smell I was looking for a young whisky from an upstart distillery. With the pine needles, vanilla and extremely high ABV, I figured we were in 4 or 5, maybe 6-year-old territory. So that’s not exactly a compliment for a single malt that turned out the double that age. And yet, I’m quite fond of this Tomintoul.
Not because it scored me a ton of points for the Blind Tasting Competition (it didn’t), but because I simply like it. Beyond the force of the alcohol, there’s a vibrant, almost dessert wine-like fruitiness that really impresses. Indeed, I would’ve like it more if this had been say, a Dalmunach (my guess), but in hindsight it probably is a little too complex for a baby single malt.
I actually tasted this whisky once before, during De Monnik Dranken’s Anniversary Festival two years ago. It didn’t leave much of an impression then because it was way too overwhelming in that setting. But after quietly sitting down with this Tomintoul at home, I can see why it was bottled as a single cask.
Tomintoul 2005 12 Years (62.7%, OB, C#9261)
Nose: Pine needles and vanilla pudding, which indicates a young whisky to me. Some almonds or roasted peanut skin, but it’s becoming fruitier with time. Subtle notes of nectarine and peaches, alongside lemon zest. Floral as well.
Taste: Quite creamy and some lovely sweet, tropical fruits. But the spiciness (chili heat), vanilla and banana mush are much more present. Finally a whiff of menthol and breakfast tea.
Finish: Lingering notes of aniseed, pine needles, white pepper and mango.
Once you get past the massive ABV, there’s a real fruity dram hidden somewhere. My sample was empty before I had time to play around with water, but I suspect it might greatly improve things.
As Tomintoul is not exactly first tier distillery, there are plenty of bottles still around at original retail price, which is making it look pretty attractive right now.
Thijs is a spirits writer and accredited liquorist from The Netherlands. He runs the blog Words of Whisky and contributes to a number of Dutch and international publications.