I’d like to start this evening by stating that I hope all you disloyal readers had a great Thanksgiving. I’d like to give thanks to the people of Hydro Quebec who brought power back to New Hampshire. Because of you bastards I’ve had to work all week. On the plus side I had a great Thanksgiving, because in spite of not having power from Wednesday to Saturday last week I have a bully good time reading, playing guitar, stoking the woodstove and drinking Wild Turkey (the only turkey I had on a powerless veggie burger’s giving.)
Now to the business at hand; drinkin’ scotch. Tonight seems as good as any for taking a Scotch geography lesson, so I’m going to brush up and pontificate. See, my pupils, Scotch, made in…Scotland—you morons—comes from several regions around the country, each renown for certain characteristics imparted by their “terroir.” Terroir is frenchy for the effect of earth, climate and straight environmental magic that plays into booze. The regions for Scotch can be broken down most simply as Lowland, Highland, Speyside and Island (Islay and Skye subregions.) The islands, think Ron Swanson’s Lagavulin, are all peat smoke and sea brine. Speyside you get a bit of light brine and crisp fruity notes alongside your classic scotch malt and vanilla. The lowlands are known for being more representative of the grains and can be light, floral, even grassy. The highlands, well, that’s where our palate visits tonight…*
Tomatin, the sponser of tonight’s program is a Scotch distillery established in 1897. That’s about all I know, and I’m not going to do more research. You have google, do your own goddamn footwork. I’m going to be honest, if there was going to be an angle to this article, this is where I would be putting it. Probably would have something to do with Sean Connery, Highlander, and how “there can only be one.” I don’t have one, so I’m just going to drink this scotch and give you some notes, because highlander don’t spit no bull.
On the nose Tomatin 12 is full of vanilla, very round malt notes, a bit of honey, and something a bit like some tart fruit, maybe Lychee? The nose doesn’t tell the full story of what hides in my glass. The mouth of this opens up quite well, with a fair share that honey that rolls over the palate, and a bit of pear, and a world of grain. There is one note that hangs out a bit like musty hay that perhaps comes from the environment, perhaps from the barrel, but doesn’t detract much from a nice warm and delicate mouthfeel. Likewise that finish leaves with perhaps even more lingering ethereally over the tongue with warm vanilla, the tiniest bit of spice and a pie of chest hair. Shit wait, that’s Connery again. That note was something like a granny smith apple after taste, tad tart, plenty delicious.
On the whole I find Tomatin’s 12 year old single malt a quite pleasant experience, the more so because it doesn’t cost you any more than a bottle of blended Famous Grouse. While there were some notes we’ll refer to as…unique…I feel as though this Tomatin 12 year, as a “young” single malt (you’d get the Mann Act for this,) is a nice entry for the brand, and shows quite a lot of promise for the older vintages available; and at that price, you’re doing quite well for yourself. Verdict? In the wide world of Scotch there are bargain single malts, and there are bargain single malts worth drinking. This is the latter.
*Disclaimer, this is probably all bullshit, I don’t generally drink much scotch, so I’m basically being a scotch racist.