This 12 year-old Oloroso cask was hand-filled at Tomatin two years ago. They are among the best in terms of the bottle-your-own selection, giving visitors a choice of five: apart from this one, there was a 5 year-old virgin oak cask, a 12 year-old ex-Bourbon, a 16 year-old Pedro Ximenez finish, and a (sadly unaffordable, because it was the pick of the bunch) 27 year-old ex-Bourbon. To their credit, they were one of the first distilleries to make their exclusives available online during the pandemic – you can still find them here.
Nose: This is big, heavy sherry – on stewed currants and berries, those ubiquitous Christmas cake notes and a discreet but noticeable background of struck matches. There’s a little bit of sulphur, then, but not the bad kind in my opinion.
Palate: Sherried whisky ‘in the wild’: roasted nuts, the same stewed fruit with dustings of cocoa and brown sugar, with big tannic notes in the background. Water brings out dark chocolate.
Finish: Long, remains sweet mostly (a lot of heavily sherried whiskies have a drying note on the finish but not this one).
Comments: One of a kind. This is a sherry bomb that delivers huge flavours akin to a Glenfarclas 105, albeit with less elegance. As such, it’s quite far from the Tomatin house style and I can’t help but feel that this quite rustic and individual Oloroso cask would’ve suited a heavier distillate better – all those light fruity Tomatin notes have been completely buried under the cask influence. But, there are no two ways about it – it’s a powerful cask that delivers a unique flavour experience. I would imagine their current offering is similar to this, but to be honest I prefer the ex-Bourbon single casks.