Tweet Tasting: Tomatin's #TomatinCuatro 3 September 2014

Wednesday, September 3rd a new Tweet Tasting took place under the guidance of  Steve Rush (@TheWhiskyWire) and Tomatin (@Tomatin1897).  No less than 8 samples landed in my mailbox: 4 mystery drams from the Highlands and 4 sherries. One of the whiskies could very well be a shiny new release from Tomatin.

The 4 sherries were a revelation and are in a different league compared to most sherries I've tasted in the past. But could it become my new favourite drink? I'm afraid not. I'll be loyal to my first love.

The sherries still deserve some credit. They travel conditions weren't optimal and wine is influenced by oxidation...

Tomatin's #TomatinCuatro 3 September 2014

Mystery Dram #1

Colour: Gold. Slow thin legs.

Nose: Soft, fresh and clean. Fresh citrus, flower honey and a heather breeze. Coconut, bananas, pineapple and melon. Syrupy pears.

Taste: Sweet and fruity. Soft winey flavours. A fruit salad sprinkled with wine.
With water: A little drier. More spices and wood. Pepper and green apple. Sirop de liège and apple tart.

Finish: Sweet apples and pepper

Identity: Cuatro Series Fino Sherry Cask Finish - 46% ABV

Mystery Sherry #1

Lots of apples and salty tones. Smells like a flat cider or calvados that has been watered down. Suffered any oxidation?

My guess on the identity: Fino

True identity: Fino sherry

Tomatin Cuatro Fino

Mystery Dram #2

Colour: Gold. Slightly darker than #1. Oily texture and faster legs.

Nose: A bit sharper. Nuts and eucalyptus. A Finnish sauna. Coconut and dried grass. Some red fruits. Strawberries and raspberries. Sweet condensed milk and fudge.
With water: Sweetness from overripe melons and sugared nuts. Almonds.

Taste: More power and spices. Pepper at first. Then the sweetness bashes through. Pepper, mint and caramel tobacco, minus the smoke. Nutmeg and bitter chocolate. Dried fruits. Lots of it!

Finish: Dry finish. Pepper and walnuts. Sweetens toward the end.

Identity: Cuatro Series Manzanilla Sherry Cask Finish - 46% ABV

Mystery Sherry #2

Again a lot of apples and salty flavours. Citrus and even some yeast. Seems to have suffered from oxidation also.

My guess on the identity: Manzanilla

True identity: Manzanilla sherry

Tomatin Cuatro Manzanilla

Mystery Dram #3

Colour: Old gold. Slow legs. Darker then #1 and #2.

Nose: Sharper and sweeter. Sweet oranges. Almonds, vanilla and marzipan. Honey and liquorice. Dried fruits and maraschino cherries.

Taste: Orange sauce. Again honey and liquorice. Sweet juicy pears and an abundance of raisins
Vanilla and cherries. Rice pudding with cardamon, mint and walnuts.

Finish: Warm milk with honey, mint and vanilla.

Identity: Cuatro Series Oloroso Sherry Cask Finish - 46% ABV

Mystery Sherry #3

Lots of raisins and walnuts. A sweet nose. The palate is completely different. More dry notes.

My guess on the identity: Oloroso

True identity: Oloroso sherry

Tomatin Cuatro Oloroso

Mystery Dram #4

Colour: Old gold. Thick slow legs. The darkest of the series.

Nose: Honey and marzipan. Sultana raisins. Almond liquor. Chocolate and cherries. Sugar syrup (or golden syrup).

Taste: Honey-sweet. Caramelised figs and fennel seed. Buttermilk with dextrose.

Finish: Vanilla ice napped with a syrupy caramel.

Identity: Cuatro Series Pedro Ximenez Sherry Cask Finish - 46% ABV

Mystery Sherry #4

It smells and looks like a Madeira wine but tastes differently. Too sweet and syrupy. Candy Syrup.

My guess on the identity: Pedro Ximenez

True identity: Pedro Ximenez sherry

Tomatin Cuatro Pedro Ximenez

And the twelve points go to...

Difficult to choose an absolute favourite. Number #3 en #2 have a very small advantage. But sample #1 and #4 have their own distinctive qualities. Different whiskies, different moods. This is why I never rate whiskies.

A word of thanks

to Steve Rush from The Whisky Wire for organising and the people of Tomatin  (esp. Graham Eunson and Jennifer Masson) for providing the samples for the evening and answering our questions.

We were not treated to a single new expression but a whole new series of sherry finished whisky. A great concept. One batch of whisky finished in 4 different sherry butts.

The new Cuatro Series from Tomatin

All distilled on the same day, the whisky matured for nine years in American Oak casks before being transferred to four different types of Sherry butts for a period of over three years. As a result, each of the four expressions have developed their own unique characteristics. The range includes Fino, Manzanilla, Oloroso and Pedro Ximenez.

With its Spanish sherry inspiration, the name “Cuatro” is fitting as the Spanish word for “four”.

There are 1500 bottles of each expression available and each is expected to retail at £49.99. All unchill filtered and natural colour. Bottled at 46% ABV.

Cù Bòcan Sherry Edition

Staying with the Sherry theme, the company has also added another limited edition to the Cù Bòcan range: the Sherry edition. With the standard edition comprising Sherry, Virgin Oak and Bourbon casks, this is the first of three limited editions highlighting the flavours derived from the sherry casks.

The expression matured in first fill Sherry butts. There are only 6000 bottles available and it is expected to retail at £49.99 or € 63.

Source: Press release Tomatin Distillery