A few months ago I had the unnerving experience of turning forty. Forty, for heaven’s sake. Half way through a decent innings or almost done with a shit one. Contrary to what I had been led to believe, I didn’t wake up imbued with wisdom. There was no urge to buy a fast car, I’ve yet to download Tinder in an attempt to stave off a mid-life crisis and, to date, my gentleman’s garden remains ungreyed.
That’s not to say that I’m immune to the sheer devastation time can heap upon a person. My hairline has fallen out with with my face, crows appear to have been dancing a tarantella in the corners of my eyes and by turning my head I can make my neck do a half-decent impression of an angry child with a roll of bubble wrap.
While there is no doubting that time can take the sting out of a person, having a zero at the end of your age is no guarantee of anything other than you’ll bore other people to tears mentioning it. Did I tell you I’m forty now?
A few years ago, while in the middle of a Tomatin infatuation, I decided to buy the subject of today’s review and squirrel it away for the big day. This was a time when people had a sense of humour, men bought razors and independent bottlings represented good value. I appreciate this last one may provoke snorts of derision. Consequently, it cost just north of a couple of hundred pounds.
The whisky is a marriage of seven bourbon casks containing spirit distilled in 1967 and was bottled at natural strength without chill-filtration.
- In the 1970s Tomatin produced 12.5 million litres of spirit a year, enough for five Olympic-sized swimming pools or three Dundonian weddings.
- It’s reputed that anywhere between 70 and 80 percent of Tomatin goes into blended whisky. Evidently, the remainder is in my back bedroom.
- The visitor centre offers a virgin oak bottle-your-own, which is proof that people will buy any old shit on holiday.
|Nose||This is good. Candied oranges, beeswax, wood varnish and walnuts. It’s missing the grapefruit notes I normally find in these old Tomatins, but still a pleasure to sniff.|
|Palate||Polished wood, baked marmalade (think bread and butter pudding) and aniseed balls. A little overdone and, dare I say it, slightly flat.|
|Finish||A decent amount of wax, a fair bit of wood (without getting too grippy) and some bitter chocolate.|
|Thoughts||A welcome taste of yesteryear but it’s lacking the fruity quality you find in some of the truly great Tomatins.|
Age may bring class, but it also takes away vitality, and this a perfect example of that. Bottled three or four years earlier, we could be looking at greatness. Still slick, but can’t help feeling it’s a little past its prime. On that front, I can relate.