"Characterful sweet summer whisky with many twists and turns that took some courage to bottle"
(Photo from Whiskybase)
Moscatel wine originates from Spain, in particular regions around Valencia and Malaga (although we do not know the exact region where Tomatin got the barrels from). The grapes, at least 85% Moscatel del Alexandria also known in other countries as Muscat/Muscato/Muskateller, delivers charesteric and very sweet flavours. The production process is comparable to that for Pedro de Ximénez sherry and difficult to ferment due to the high sugar content. Typical are the floral, citrus and raisin-like notes in the nose and taste. Coming back to the whisky, Tomatin has finished their spirit for a whole 5 years in Moscatel barriques, meaning that we can expect a heavy influence of the wine.
Big leather note with overripe apples and pears. Rather subdued at first, but slowly more fruits appear. Peach skin, cranberry jelly and cherries. It appears very honest, true to the original spirit. I think I even detect a hint of strawberry jam (a favourite of mine not often found in single malt). Soaked raisins, dried apples, and a very faint hint of smoke. Water breaks the nose apart (so watch out with that). A second pour brings a flash of wall paper paste, then coffee with milk, orange juice, lemonade and raisins.
First a small kick of the alcohol, but then raisin bread, dried plums, concentrated plum sauce and old leather. Fresh red fruits, cranberry sauce. Opens up with a tiny drop of water brining salt, raisin cake, biscuit spices, aspirin and a hint of smoke in the background. Some citrus in the aftertaste along with the above mentioned notes. The palate’s strength is perfect. A mixture of sour fruits, raisin cake, salty nuts, fruit compote and aspirin. Add to that some leafy notes, light cognac and oranges. The after taste is light, but with enough substance to remain interesting with different notes mentioned above that intermignle with each other.
I found this a very peculiar dram with many twists and turns. One moment it is very sweet, almost too sweet, the next moment it becomes fresh and sour, before taking a mineral and chalky turn with clear notes of aspirin. You can imagine I had really, really no idea where it came from when I tasted it in a blind competition. Luckily I was not the only one, while it also divided the opinions of the tasters about its charms. Someone described it as a drink for hot summer days, and I have to agree, and at times it almost feels like a cocktail. I do admire the guts that Tomatin had when they decided to bottle this peculiar and dividing whisky. Something that I feel often lacks in the Scottish whisky industry, that is courage to do something different that not all fans might like.
This sample was part of organised by Whisky4all!
• these are my personal views, so do not take them too seriously… nothing beats tasting these for yourself •