The Tormore distillery was the first Scottish distillery to be built in the 20th century (in 1958-1960), and sounds like one of the more intriguing distilleries to visit - some Googling tells me it has a clock that plays scottish tunes every quarter hour, hedges shaped like stills, and cute workers' cottages nearby. Alas, the plan for a bottle-shaped chimney never made it into reality.
Release 105.14 is labeled "A sweet song with deeper resonances" by the Society. It's hard to say if any of this modern quirky architecture gets infused into the spirit, but after tasting this 26-year-old offering from the Scotch Malt Whisky Society, one can't help but wonder.
The colour shows off its time in the cask, a mildly dark tone with glimmers of sherry pink as it catches the light.
The initial rush on the nose is a strange mix of apple juice and fresh paint, but once you get used to this, you notice more lemon icing, golden syrup, and a deeper tang of orange peel - there's a fascinating "sticky fruit" thing going on here, but kept off-balance by that paint tone and something else - after a few sips, I think I can pick up a kind of rich wood, like mahogany. A couple of drops of water make things clearer, but be careful not to add too much more.
A good mouthful, and a reminder that this is cask-strength stuff. 26 years has done little to temper this, and swishing it through the gums for half a minute is vital to get acquainted properly. The flavours from the nose are still there, but move towards the darker side - sultanas and dry peel are joined by spices, licquorice, and pepper. I admit, I do like that in a Scotch.
And ooh hello this is a good finish… one that insists you enjoy it. Leftover forest fruits on that same bed of licquorice as before, an undercurrent of decaying potential and, uh … hot sand? Having spent so long getting here, the Tormore is in no hurry to get home. Relax.
This is very enjoyable stuff. There's a powerful subtlety here, settled but not dull. Maybe I'm getting old, but the zesty maturity really appeals to me. I'm giving this 90%. Now I just need a crazy Scottish clock to go with it.
I couldn't see 105.14 on the SMWS site, so it may well have sold out, but they do still list 105.13, another 26-year Tormore. Might be worth a grab if you want something in the same family.
@scribe, even though I likely cannot find a bottle here in the States, this was indeed an enjoyable read. Although, I do feel that I've fallen behind a bit, as I have not yet tasted mahogany ... but I do appreciate the imagination :-)
Thanks PeatAndMeat & AboutChoice. - The mahogany was what came to mind but my mind is probably not the most reliable witness ;) But there's definitely that dark-yet-sweet-woody flavour thing here. Time to go and start sniffing some grand pianos ;)