I recently discovered a new Highland Scotch that is evidently quite well known in Scotland. According to Michael Jackson’s Single Malt Scotch guide, Tomatin is as big as Glenfiddich and in 1950-1970 period was one of the largest distillery outfits in the world. After that it was well used in making other blends but wasn’t recognized as a stand alone scotch. After picking up a bottle on special for around $25 dollars I think this may be one of the biggest finds in the USA in affordable scotch.
It has an unmistakable Highland quality to it. It reminds me a bit of an unpolished Macallan. It is finished in sherry casks which give it color and great sherry wood taste. I figured for the money, it was worth a shot! I was pleasantly rewarded with a bottle that I would consider a good mid-line scotch that could compete in the mid-range price level. It was only after a few drams that I actually decided to add a wee bit of water to see what happened. The result is I will always add a wee bit of water to this whisky! With water this turns into a very sweet, mellow malty whisky. I find it quite refreshing actually. It is also a good candidate for a medium to full cigar. I am going to smoke a Carlos Torano 1916 with it tonight and expect good things.
If you are new to scotch or want to get into single malts, this would be a good place to start. This is a much better scotch, to me, than a Glenlivet 12 or Johnny Walker Black. This is a true single malt, and they are hard to beat by a low level blend. For the record, MJ’s guide scores the Glenlivet ten points higher than the The Glenlivet is a single malt, but I think its commonplace makes it less interesting than the Tomatin 12.
If you happen to come across this whisky and the price is south of $40 U.S. I would give it a try!