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Tomintoul 16 Year Old

Average score from 6 reviews and 20 ratings 83

Tomintoul 16 Year Old

Product details

  • Brand: Tomintoul
  • Bottler: Distillery Bottling
  • ABV: 40.0%

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Tomintoul 16 Year Old

Tomintoul is a young (°1964) and lesser-known distillery that is quietly working to put itself on the map. Although they still supply the vast majority of their production for the blends of Whyte & Mackay, they also bottle single malt. In May 2021, I participated in an online masterclass, organized by importer Cinoco, and this was in the line-up. It charmed without being really great. But for 50 EUR you do have an hhonest entry-level malt,made of mainly first fill bourbon-aged and only a little sherry-aged Tomintoul. Soft nose on Granny Smith apples and grain cookies, pannacota, crème brûlée, vanilla, coconut, apple sauce and a hint of sniffing tobacco and pebbles. Some floral honey and hazelnuts. Flawless, but well-behaved. The body is very light, almost watery. In addition to the apples of the nose now also some walnuts, Frosties and pear syrup, lime juice and vanilla appear. Cherries and raspberries are popping up. But the pebbles are also prominent. Feel free to turn it into chalk. Soft pepper provides some warmth. In the finish, which is rather short, I get a hint of fennel and sweet chestnuts. I said entry-level and of course Tomintoul also has a 10-year-old, but if you know you can buy it for 50 EUR, it's only a small effort to start with this. It deserves it.


I was suppose to taste these whiskies as part of a virtual tasting lead by Tomintoul Master Distiller Robert Fleming, but I suppose I missed something when I signed up for the tasting, because I don't think I would have registered knowing it was happening at 11am on a Tuesday. I'm dedicated, but not that dedicated. What follows then is my impressions of these whiskies.

The bottle reads "Tomintoul Speyside Glenlivet" which may lead to some confusion. As far as I know there is no corporate marriage between Tomintoul and Glenlivet. There is a history of other Speyside distilleries using a hyphenated "Glenlivet" name but the legal details aren't really that interesting to me. According to Tomintoul's website this is aged exclusively in ex-bourbon casks, something that's far too rare these days in my humble opinion.

  • Nose (undiluted): a bit shy at first, honey, green apples, some banana, pears
  • Palate: richer than I expected, a bit creamy (if only it were bottled at a higher abv ! ), nutty (hazelnuts), vanilla, toffee, more pears
  • Finish: medium length, malty, a touch of citrus zest (lemons and oranges), a bit of vanilla custard lingers
  • Thoughts: If I'm drinking unpeated whisky, this type of dram is right in my wheelhouse. The distillate character is present, the whisky is gentle (a little too gentle at 40% abv) yet it isn't invisible.

@OdysseusUnbound I might be wrong, but I think that use of Glenlivet is a reference to the region, not the distillery of the same name.

@BlueNote I remember reading something along those lines, but I couldn't be bothered to sort through all the legal wrangling that went along with it.


For this age of whisky this is gossamer light malt. A duty free offering at 40%, felt slightly short changed by the percentage, but the age was reassuring. Anyway what does it taste like, that’s the most important thing. Nose: Linseed oil, leather and vanilla. Sounds like a description of a perfume.
Taste: Very light in body, cereal malt vanilla, linseed again and hints of citrus. No sherry cask influence here Finish: Short fresh and salty.


The nose is rancid and sharp: I am getting an overriding sense of apple cider vinegar and lemon rinds. The palate is better with warm barley malt, hay, grass . . . ah heck, I can't go on . . . this stuff is a sorry excuse for a single malt scotch in this age and price range. Don't buy it unless you can get it for less than $40 (American dollar).

I would much rather drink The MacTarnahan (9 year Glenfarclas with fake coloring and merely oak casks with nothing to season the wood) and The Mac costs $30 here in Oregon. It's called the "Modern Spirit." Nice one. Well, it's not bad for the money. A far cry better than this bottle of Tomintoul 16 that I've got open on my desk as I type these words.

I opened it yesterday, so it's fairly new to the world of fresh air. If it improves with oxidation as the level goes down, I will amend my dreary verdict here. This will be my "offer to the scotch heathen" guests bottle. They will see the 16 Year on the label and feel privileged. Me? I would rather drink a dram of Mac 9 mixed with a smidge of Longrow Gaja Barolo. It mixes shockingly well together and costs a good deal less than this Tomintoul.

So . . . you might be wondering why I am so blunt tonight in my review. Well, my next door neighbor brought her dog over to my front porch and the bloody fleas from that neurotic hair ball crept into my house! It's a first for me. I've never had any trouble before. My dog, named Islay, by the way, is a Basenji without an undercoat, so there isn't much hair for a flea to hide in.

At present, they are trying to colonize her hide! Good gracious, now my poor dog, my wife and myself are suffering from the horrors of a minor infestation. I needed a respite from this madness and all I got was a bottle of sour malt and the accompanying winces that go with it, especially at a price tag of $75 (American dollars).

Tonight, I took my little book down from the book shelf that I packed back from Tate Gallery in London when I was 19 in the Year of Our Lord 1987. I do admire the watercolor entitled, "Ghost of a Flea." Gazing upon the strangeness of that grimoire of a printed acid etching plate with watercolors atop the etching is more satisfying than choking down this vinegary dram of Tomintoul 16.

At any rate, here's toasting to your good health, and pest free lives, fellow drammers. Better luck than yours truly at Ye Olde Liquor Store, eh. . . .

I think "The Toul" is improving as a distillery rather than going downhill. Ralfy seemed quite impressed by the 14 was it, recently?

At any rate, this one I have open is more or less from the old guarde so to speak. I'm curious to try the 14, but I won't be buying a bottle. I would need to taste that in a pub first after this experience. And, yes, this Toul 16 is getting even better.

Here are my new tasting notes: Nose has improved dramatically: cinnamon apple cobbler with nice aromatic cobbler crust; palate: granny smith apples, weak caramel, lingering bitter finish still.

My rating is now 66.6.

hahaha I can't get the image of a flea-infested mutt going crazy at your door while you stand there looking horrified. I am sorry, my friend, you had to go through that. Hope the bastard fleas meet their untimely demise soon and vacate soon.

Thanks for the heads up on the Tomintoul. I have a 14 year old which I haven't opened - I might after reading your review just to see. I've reviewed the Peaty Tang which is quite pleasant - in fact I might have one now...

Let me know how much it improves with air.


The color on this is golden honey like jewel quality amber (it spent some time in a sherry cask). The nose is floral almost like a ladies perfume. I got the image of laundry drying on a line in a field of lavender when I inhaled deeply. The flavor was robust but balanced with wonderful honey notes. Unfortunately, the distillery has changed hands since this bottling, so who’s to say what the future will hold for Tomintoul.

Well, I should have listen to my own comment. Drat! I forgot I wrote that! Got a bottle of the Tomintoul 16 last week and opened it yesterday. It is truly the worst bottle I have opened in years. Cheers! I can only assume this bottle of sour barley that I am trying to drink from is dramatically different from the one you reviewed four and half years ago.

There is no "sea spray" on this nose, SuwanneeJoe. None at all. It smells like rotten apples to me.

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