Category Archives: Tomintoul

Tomintoul-Glenlivet 12-year-old (Perfume Bottle)

Bought: Online Whisky Auction, 26th October 2016

78/100 – Whiskyfun (Serge Valentin)
79/100 – Malt Maniacs (from 8 maniac votes)
82/100 – Whiskybase (from 17 member votes)

There are many reasons for collecting whisky such as having a favourite distillery, bottles from your birth year, closed distilleries, family favourite, love of a particulate flavour, etc. One of my sub-collections focuses on bottle shapes, which is where this Tomintoul comes in. The design first appeared in the mid 1970s but my 12yo dates from the late 1980s / early 1990s. It certainly has a Seventies look to it. In the early 1990s the use of ‘hyphen Glenlivet’ was dropped by all the distilleries in the Glenlivet area after the Glenlivet distillery got a bit shirty about it.

Tomintoul is generally regarded as good if basic malt where the house style is easy-drinking, sweet with spice, vanilla, fruit and floral notes. The water source comes from the Ballantruan stream, which gives its name to the distillery’s heavily-peated ‘Old Ballantruan’ range.

Scoring 78 and 79 from Whiskyfun and the Malt Maniacs is an average to reasonable score but 82/100 on Whiskybase is very good especially after 17 votes. One reviewer for the 70cl bottle (mine is 100cl) leaves these thoughts, “A gentle dram, that’s the true, toffee, chocolate and malt. Well balanced and nice to drink, sweet on the palate, with vanilla and some wood. Amazing chocolate notes in a long finish, bitter herbs remain at the end.” They conclude with “good standard.”

Here are the tasting notes from Serge Valentin of Whiskyfun, which don’t sound too bad if you like toffee:
Nose: lots of caramel at first nosing, developing on burnt cake, malt and praline. Nicely balanced. It then gets slightly sour, with some notes of vanilla and old wood. It’s not complex but quite nice and compact, getting more and more toffeeish.
Mouth: very sweet attack, again on caramel and malt. Cake, dried oranges, camomile, grains… The caramel gets then heavier and heavier, which makes the whole a little bitter, but not un-enjoyable.
Finish: rather long but too toffeeish, alas.


Tomintoul ‘Peaty Tang’

Bought: Whisky Galore, 6th March 2015

94/100 – Whisky Bible 2015
80/100 – Whiskybase (average from 102 member votes)

When I started collecting whisky back in 2013 I was all set to buy Tomintoul’s ‘With a Peaty Tang’ until I had a bad experience with the Ardbeg 10yo. I first tried the Ardbeg back in 2000 and I loved it but it now tasted far more medicinal in flavour than I remembered. I decided that peat should be put on the back burner, and I’d keep my Speyside malts as traditional as possible. I bought the Tomintoul 16yo for the collection and left it at that.

2 years later and I’m a complete convert to the peat experience. The Ardbeg 10yo is one of my favourite drams, which reignited my interest in the ‘Peaty Tang’. Although its score of 80/100 on Whiskybase is quite average, 94/100 in the Whisky Bible classifies it as a “superstar whisky that gives us all a reason to live”. At around £26, it’s good value for the quality that it delivers. Jim Murray, the bible author, says “a bit more than a tang, believe me! Faultlessly clean distillate that revels in its unaccustomed peaty role”.

Here’s Horst Luening with his thoughts on You Tube (July 2016):

Tomintoul With A Peaty Tang NAS 70cl

Tomintoul 16-year-old

Bought – Whisky Galore, 25th November 2013

94.5/100 – Whisky Bible 2013
81/100 – Ralfy, of
Review: – Ralfy – Tomintoul 16yo – YouTube

For my single malt example from Tomintoul I was originally going to invest in a bottle of ‘With A Peaty Tang’ (which gets 94/100 in the Whisky Bible 2013) until I realised I’m not a great peat lover. I’d be happier to have a lump of peat burning on my fire than shoved into my dram! So I was delighted to find that the 16yo from this Speyside distillery was 94.5/100 in the bible AND easily obtainable as a half bottle.

I originally tried to buy this 16yo from Loch Fyne Whiskies but, after I’d ordered it, they contacted me and said it was out-of-stock. They offered me the 10yo instead but at 79/100 in the bible and only 50p cheaper than the 16yo I decided to find the older brother elsewhere.

As I was hunting down a video review of this 16yo, not only did I discover Ralfy’s version mentioned above but he also covers the 14yo Tomintoul. In this video he makes reference to his earlier review of the 16yo, which makes interesting viewing. You can see this video here.

Ralfy gives the 14yo a mark of 91/100, which is extremely high for him and 10 points more than he gives the 16yo. The whisky bible also scores the 14yo higher than the 16yo but only by 0.5 of a point. Reviews on Malt Maniacs have close marks but still in favour of the younger whisky with the 16yo getting 83/100 (from 2 reviewers) and the 14yo getting 84/100 (from 2 reviewers).

Ralfy has certainly got me curious about the 14yo, even if other reviewers think it’s only marginally better than the 16yo (not a whole 10 points like he does!). Unfortunately it’s not available in anything less than a 70cl bottle and at £40 (the 16yo is only £34 for 70cl) it seems rather expensive for what it is.

Tomintoul 16yo 35cl