We'll be sipping a single cask Tomatin 2004 for Usquebaugh Society tonight. Tomatin Distillery dates from 1897 but remained fairly anonymous until 2004. Some ten years ago Tomatin sold 100.000 bottles a year. Today they quadrupled that number. Most of the output disappeared into blends. In the mid seventies, Tomatin had 23 stills and produced over 12 million liters of alcohol. Even Glenfiddich, todays single malt giant, didn't produce that much alcohol.
The dutch Usquebaugh Society annually selects a single cask for their members and fans. This year's edition is an 11 year old single malt from a first fill bourbon barrel. Forty members gathered for a private tasting with Tomatin's Scott Adamson to select a cask from four different samples.
The five digit cask number means this is a finishing cask. The whisky spent the first seven years of its life in a refill bourbon cask. Then it was transferred to a first-fill bourbon barrel for another four years.
Identity card Tomatin 2004 for Usquebaugh Society
- Tomatin 2004 single cask
- Tomatin Distillery, Inverness (Highlands)
- 11 year old single malt
- Distilled in 2004 - bottled in 2016
- First fill bourbon barrel cask #35281
- Alcohol: 60 % ABV
- €68 from Whiskybase / Levenswater.nl
Tasting NotesColour: It looks like a pale white dessert wine. But this thin and fast legs and a light texture are hinting at a high ABV. (The label says 60% so ... check!)
Nose: One word: bourbon-y. This whisky doesn't hide its heimat. I'm pretty sure you'll identify this in a blind tasting as a bourbon matured scotch. A dry eau de vie from grapes and buttermilk. Banana, coconut and vanilla. Red apple and meringue. Caramelised nuts. A blend of calvados and Poire Williams. With water I'm getting lots of coconut filling and almond paste. A spicy perfume of clove and ginger.
Taste: Start with a small sip. The alcohol stings more on the palate than the nose. Fairly green. Grass and fir. Slightly creamy. Young wood and vanilla. Water makes the whisky a bit rounder. Banana and coconut water. Oak. Sour bitter apple peel.
Finish: Green twigs and bitter nuts.
A lovely dry sweet texture from the bourbon cask (although I'm quite the bourbon / American whiskey virgin...). An easy sipper yet you can effortless spend the evening with a single glass. Forty trained and honest noses can't be wrong. Great pick guys.
Tomatin appears to be walking the Bruichladdich path. They start giving the distillery a face with their Tomatin Life campaign. Their whiskies show already a nice complexity and balance at a younger age.
What did other people think of it?
Source and pictures: Distillery building, (Tomatin), Tomatin 2004 for Usquebaugh Society. bottle (whiskybase),
Sjoerd from Malt Fascination sent me a sample of the Tomatin 2004 for Usquebaugh Society. Since it’s absolutely no use lying to one’s self, opinions expressed in this review are of course my own honest opinion.