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Tomatin 18 Year Old

Average score from 9 reviews and 17 ratings 85

Tomatin 18 Year Old

Product details

  • Brand: Tomatin
  • Bottler: Distillery Bottling
  • ABV: 43.0%
  • Age: 18 year old

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Tomatin 18 Year Old

The grand finale in tonight's vertical tasting is the Tomatin 18 Year Old. This one is finished in Oloroso Sherry casks. No mention of how long.

  • Nose (undiluted): dry sherry, raisins, walnuts, dark chocolate, oak, a bit of char, and something herbal, maybe some rosemary
  • Palate (undiluted): rich mouthfeel, obvious sherry influence, vanilla, some cinnamon, orange zest
  • Finish: medium length, bright grapes, vanilla, green apples, some oak notes and a touch of coffee and cocoa powder lingering

Everything seems right, but I want more out of this whisky. I want more...something. I'm not sure what's lacking, but it isn't blowing me away. Maybe it's palate fatigue, but I don't think so. It's almost like the flavours aren't quite clear or defined enough, like watching a VHS on an old tv set when you're used to blu-ray and a 4K television. It gets better with a longer rest in the glass, but I still want more...(clarity?) from this whisky. It would be interesting to see what time and air exposure did to a full bottle of this. There's a lot of potential and lots of good flavours, but they don't feel fully integrated. Would I buy a bottle of this? Maybe, if the price was right, I would. I feel like time and air would bump this up 3 or 4 points for me.

@cricklewood That’s the set. These sample-reviews are challenging, regardless of whether it is a sample from someone else’s bottle or a pre-packaged 50ml sample. One taste of any whisky is, as has been mentioned, a snapshot in time. It can give readers a general overview, but it has to be put into context. If I own a full bottle of what I’m reviewing, I like to wait until at least half the bottle is gone, preferably giving me the chance to taste and update my notes at :

  • freshly opened
  • 1 week later
  • 1 month later
  • 3 months later

It might be interesting to write the notes this way, but I generally don’t do it like that, as it might be too long and tedious for readers. Heck, there are only 90-110 views of each blog post I do anyway...I don’t want to drive anyone away. stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes


I feel the same way as you. I much prefer to try a whisky successively over a period of time to get a better understanding of it prior to review. It can often mean a few points up or down from my initial impression.

I will often state it in a review if all I've had is a sample.

That said multiple session reviews poses it's own set of challenges, trying to combine or pare down your notes and not ramble too long on a subject. From reading what people are looking for in a review on this forum and the stats on my blog you'd be hard pressed to pin down one unifying view on the subject

I find the blog stats funny, if I had a dollar for everytime a particular review was seen I could buy premium whisky. Others I wouldn't even be able to buy candy.


The reviewed bottle of Tomatin 18 yo is owned by @Maddie, has been open for 3 years, and is 95% full. Tomatin 18 yo was finished in Oloroso sherry butts

Nose: fragrant high-pitched grapey-cum-flowery sherry is what greets you first with this one. The barley-malt is there when you look for it, but the wood is pretty slight and understated. Nice quality of the wine flavours with a nice integration of the wine flavours with the barley. Sweet-dry balance is good, and inclines toward the dry side. Score: 22/25

Taste: this is pretty grapey in the mouth, more so than I was expecting. The sherry dominates the delivery and the close. In the mouth this Oloroso comes across as very dry and astringent. Sweet balance is lacking. The barley flavours and the wood flavours are nowhere to be found. Score: 21/25

Finish: stays long and strong while the wine flavours slowly fade out. Score: 21/25

Balance: very good in the nose; good thereafter. Score: 21/25

Water added: 1) gives some very welcome sweetness to the nose, and 2) bundled and lowered the pitch of the grape flavours in the mouth. I prefer this nose with water added. For the palate, it's a toss-up as to which to like better

Total Sequential Score: 85 points


Strength: very good strength of flavours throughout. Score: 22/25

Quality: good to very good quality of all of the flavours, but wine is almost totally what you taste. Score: 22/25

Variety: not much. Score: 19/25

Harmony: good to very good harmony. Score: 21.5/25

Total Non-Sequential Score: 84.5 points


Comment: Dry Oloroso Sherry, that's all there is. It's pretty good, but nothing to get too excited about. Very nice nose, though

I've always enjoyed the tropical notes in Tomatin, do they come through in the 18 year old?

@Victor a note on text formatting: for dividers in content you could try --- with an empty line above and below, which should display as a horizontal rule.

Example above point_up

@Ol_Jas, that's the tale of a couple of hundred bottles, all open at once...and the number continuing to grow. My sister loves to taste new stuff. She has less attachment to the currently open bottles.


A really good malt from Tomatin. It's bottled at 46% and is probably one of the best value-for-money drams around.

Nose: rich, nutty, delicate. Very interesting and inviting nose. Palate: think, spicy (cinnamon?), creamy, quite sweet with fruity round taste. Lovely sherry! Finish: medium to long. The fruit stats til the end and the sherry casks are working well here

This is a very good whisky at a very good price. Definately recommended!


Tomatin (To-MA-tin, to ryhme with 'satin) let's their Scotch do the talking, ie. no or little budget for marketing/hype, just good craftsmanship.

First impressions: Interesting bottle design - don't think I've seen this type before. Right up is a soft whiff of sherry upon pouring...

Nose: Subtle Sherry & Muscat grapes, some apple & cinnamon, bit of smoke

Palate: Great balance. Hints of honey, oak & some malt - all beneath a really delicious layer of rich cocoa/dark chocolate. Medium sweet, no bitterness.

Finish: Long. Continues the mouth watering dark chocolate theme, with notes of honeyed tea and plenty of malt & oak.

Impressive quality and complexity for such a bargain - this goes for around 65USD / 55EUR and I'd dare say there aren't many better drams available for that kind of money.

It's on a par with the Glendronach 15 Revival in terms of value for money, in my opinion.

@Frost - if you liked the old 40%abv version then you will undoubtedly appreciate this newer 46% un-chill-filtered successor (the pic used here is the old version, the one I have is a different bottle/label design). This is one of those drams that makes you think the seller got his pricing wrong. It's just such good value.

@ OlJas - it's a very classy & subtle sherry-ness, not at all like the Glenmo oloroso finishes of today. The ex-sherry cask adds complexity to it, rather than dominating it. And yes - you should of bought that bottle!!! ;-)


This 18 yr old has had 15 years of maturation in Bourbon hogsheads, Makers Mark to be specific. It is then finished for the final 3 years in Oloroso sherry casks.

This combination gives this 18 yr a sweet, woody nose that is rich in fruit, spiced berries, cinnamon and puffs of smoke.

It has good legs.

On the palate it is smooth and sweet. You can taste the bourbon influence right off. There is a low level dry spiciness and subtle smoke. I expected more oak on the palate as promised by the nose but it is pleasingly subtle and not as strong as expected. There is an hint of citrus and a lovely honey finish which is long and sherried.

It is not as complex as some but this is a great well rounded expression which is really worth trying. Good stuff!


Here in Ontario, thanks to the iron grip of the LCBO, there are many, many single malts which we simply don't see. Tomatin is one of them. Which is surprising since, at its peak of production in 1974, it eclipsed Glenfiddich as the most productive distillery in Scotland, pumping out 2.6 million gallons of whisky. So you would think the distillery, founded in 1897, would still have some reach out here...

However, things have changed. The 1980s happened, and the distillery struggled, eventually cutting production down to its present day output of 1.1 million gallons. The 18 year old, introduced to the world in 2006, spent most of its time in refill American oak casks, and married in oloroso sherry butts prior to bottling. Thank you to Johanne McInnis for this sample.

The colour is a cloudy medium gold. This is beautifully malty on the nose, with milk chocolate, maple and butterscotch. Apples and cinnamon. Lots of fruitcake from fine oloroso sherry casks. Very honeyed. Sweet and lovely. A few drops of water bring out a bit of smoke.

On the palate, very sharp honey with some heat and spice. The slightest hint of peat. Oaky, warm, with darker chocolate and nutmeg. Water warms it up even more.

The finish has orange chocolate at the fore. Long and deep, with more apple cinnamon. This is an incredibly complex whisky: sweet, spicy, chocolatey and absolutely wonderful. I had a dram of the 12 at the Canny Man's in Edinburgh and loved it; but this is a whole other realm of complexity. In case you are interested, Jim Murray scores this a 92.5.


After 15 years of maturation on a bourbon hogshead, it got a finish of three years on oloroso.

The nose bursts with orchard fruit (apples, pears and citrus), maple syrup, cinnamon and a touch of smoke.

Rather oily on the palate. I got citrus, dark chocolate, heather and oak.

The finish is long and dry.

This is the favorite dram of Tomatin's regional sales manager Graham Nicholson. I have to agree with him. Very pleasant indeed.


Tomatin was once a massive distillery. In 1974, at the peak of its output, it was the largest distillery in Scotland with 23—yes, that figure is 23—stills producing 12 million litres. Today, it has 11 fewer stills than in 1974 and produces only about 2.5 million litres. Save for quietly releasing a few expressions and for being the first Japanese-owned Scottish distillery, Tomatin is a little known name.

The standard Tomatin range runs from 12 to 40 years old; there are also vintage and single cask expressions, as well as a peated 4 year-old available only in Japan. Here, I review the 18 year-old (black label), finished in Oloroso casks.

The nose is an integration of sweet and spicy notes. Floral with a touch of smoke, malt, raspberry jam, chilis, salt, and fruit—especially melon, pineapple, and tart strawberry. There are also hints of creme brulée.

The palate is alternately fruity and spicy, with rising smoke. The finish turns boldly on peaches and rose petals, near to a nice summer wine, before becoming somewhat vegetal.

The Tomatin 18 year-old is quite an interesting whisky. It is fruity, smoky, and light, with a unique finish.


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