Tomatin did an exciting experiment of which they revealed the results in mid-2015. I am of course talking about Tomatin Contrast, a pair of vatted single malts that aim to show the difference between bourbon and sherry maturation.
Tomatin Contrast is sold as a pack with two 35cl bottles, each containing sherry matured and bourbon matured whisky. For each vatting they have used casks from the same vintages: 1973, 1977, 1988, 1991, 2002 and 2006. All of them in equal measure. So they used just as much old whisky as they did young whisky.
I’ve had these samples for quite a while now, but for whatever reason it took me some time to get to them. Here we go!
Tomatin Contrast Bourbon Matured (46%, OB)
Nose: Fresh green notes of wet grass at first, but it quickly transforms into sweeter aromas of beeswax, vanilla and marzipan. Now lots of tropical fruit. Mango, avocado and ripe banana. Some wet cardboard in the background. Taste: Spicy with pepper and cumin seeds. A fair amount of oak too. Traces of wax with grapefruit, soft banana and a hint of lemon peel. Finish: Slightly bitter at first and a tad dry, but it ends sweet and fruity.
Tomatin Contrast Sherry Matured (46%, OB)
Nose: Subtle sherry, not at all a sherry bomb. Although that’s no surprise, I don’t believe I’ve ever tasted a true sherry bomb from Tomatin. Fairly earthy (mushrooms) and dusty. Hints of rum raisins and dark cherries. Copper coins in the background. Taste: There’s definitely some old whisky in here. A bit tannic, but that’s okay. Lovely spiciness with cinnamon, cloves and pepper, supported by fruitier notes of plums, raisins and dates. There’s some soy in the background. Finish: Spicy, drying with dried red fruits and a hint of tobacco.
When I was nosing them both, the bourbon matured Tomatin took the lead. But whilst tasting its sherry matured counterpart took the lead and never relinquished it. A nice experiment from the people over at Tomatin.