Tomintoul (pronounced: toh-min-TOWEL) was another of those distilleries born during the booming whisky era of the 1960s. It was designed, like so many others, to produce a large volume of light and elegant, blend friendly malt whisky. A task which Tomintoul continues to be very successful at...
Tomintoul (pronounced: toh-min-TOWEL) was another of those distilleries born during the booming whisky era of the 1960s. It was designed, like so many others, to produce a large volume of light and elegant, blend friendly malt whisky. A task which Tomintoul continues to be very successful at even to this day, it is a distillery rarely appreciated for its single malt attributes which is a shame as it is a very elegant and drinkable whisky.
Founded: 1965 Stills: 2 Wash. 2 Spirit Water Source: Ballantruan Spring Capacity: 3 Million Litres Owners: Angus Dundee Distillers
1965-Present: A Soft And Sweet Youngster
The distillery operated with only two stills for the first decade of its life until new owners Whyte & MacKay added a second pair in 1974. Bottlings that hail from this early decade of production do have a noticeably more 'old style' edge to them in the form of wax, mineral and white fruit notes.
The overall style is still light but a little bigger and more robust than it would later become. The early official bottlings that were released from 1974 onwards are all excellent drams that show these early qualities really beautifully.
There are also quite a few aged independent bottlings around from this time and these are usually pretty fantastic. They often display the typically lush fruit and honeycomb characters of good aged Speyside distillate, the lightness of the make contributing greatly to the spirit's longevity in cask.
More recent bottlings from the late seventies onwards have settled into the distillery's more typical 'light' character for which it has become known. Lots of heather, grass, buttercup notes, touches of camphor, honey and garden fruits with an often subtle background spiciness that it absorbs from the wood.
There is no shortage of bottlings around these days and there is a fine official range from the owners that is the best place to start to get a handle on the distillery character. Many independents are well worth sampling as well.
Tomintoul remains one of many quiet and humble distilleries that seem quite happy to churn out blending material but also to have a fine and very respectable range of malts as well. Hopefully it will continue in this vein for quite some time, as far as elegant, highly drinkable and quality malt whisky goes, you could do a lot worse than the charms of Tomintoul.