Tormore is mostly an anonymous distillery producing whisky for Chivas’ blended brands. But it’s also one of the most eye-catching Scottish distilleries you’ll ever see. I’ve seen it described as a Victorian hydropathic hotel, which is probably the most apt one I’ve come across. Let’s talk about the distillery a little more before I move on to the official Tormore 14 Years.
Just from looking it’s clear that Tormore was designed by someone who clearly never had built a distillery before, which might be a good thing, but I suppose that’s a matter of taste. The architect is Sir Albert Richardson, then president of the Royal Academy. He was a renowned designer responsible for structures such as the Manchester Opera House.
Tormore opened its door in 1961 and was one of the many distilleries built during the periode, hoping to capitalise on the post-World War II Scotch whisky boom. The uniqueness of the distillery’s design was recognised in 1986 when it became a listed building, despite being less than 30 years old at the time.
The distillery does not have much of a single malt presence, except for the expression I’ll be reviewing and another official bottling at 16 years of age. There have been independent bottlings of course, some of them rather good. From what I’ve tasted so far, Tormore seems to have potential, but its owners aren’t currently looking to build a brand around this singular distillery.
Tormore 14 Years (43%, OB, Batch A1903)
Nose: A whiff of raspberry jam and apple compote with cinnamon. Hints of grass, but mostly dried apricots, quince and a little toffee. Nice and approachable with a little more depth than you’d maybe expect. Taste: Creamy and malty arrival that immediately is taken over by a woody bitterness, ginger and orris root. It shouldn’t work, but it actually really does. There’s some vanilla cream here as well. Finish: Finally some fruitiness as well, with touches of sweet apple and ripe peaches.
It’s different and quirky but I quite like it. Quite some deviation between the nose and the palate, but it is all the better for it.