Review: Tomintoul 21yo and Tomintoul 1981 Vintage Single Cask

tomintoul-21-year-old-whisky21yo – 40%

93.5 in Jim Murray Whisky Bible 2013. The now discontinued 27 year old has been replaced by a 33 year old, and this 21 year old fills the middle gap nicely.

Summer gold in colour.

Rich oaky nose with grassy malt coming out, it goes from oak to malt and back to oak again, soft vanilla notes along with some stewed cooking apples, rich, smooth and creamy with summer hay notes at the back.

The palate is smooth and easy going, due both to the good middle age of this whisky and to the low ABV. It’s got a medium oily mouthfeel, with just a pinch of spices. The oak notes on the nose aren’t quite so obvious here, but it’s wonderfully fruity and easy going. The fruits have become more toffeed on the medium to long finish, more autumn in nature with a gentle warming effect on your chest.

Don’t go adding water, it doesn’t need it, and it drowns it easily, it’s already 40%, any less and it won’t be whisky any more! – However, a drop does release more aromas that’s for sure, and released a little more malt flavour on the palate.

A cracking mid to late evening dram at a good price, although a touch more ABV wouldn’t go amiss.

Sample from Tomintoul.
Available at Master of Malt – £51.43


tomintoul-1981-cask-5985-vintage-single-cask-whisky1981 Vintage Single Cask – 53.90%

Tomintoul’s first Vintage Single Cask release. Matured for over 31 years in a bourbon cask, it was distilled in October 1981 and bottled in February 2013. 1 of 196 bottles, this is a cask strength release with no artificial colouring or chill filtration.

Late summer gold in colour.

On the nose the high ABV doesn’t kick you at all, it’s smooth and welcoming, but takes a while to evolve, give this some time. Less in your face oak than the 21yo, but more crunchy green apples (less stewed). Plenty of malt, and some vanilla notes… and just a classy quality to the aroma that you only tend to find from something that’s been loved and presented properly.

On the palate it’s amazingly smooth for a dram of this ABV, helped here by some great aging. It’s creamy smooth with lashings of vanilla summer berries, a touch of oak and a handful of old spices that have lost a bit of their intensity. If held on the tongue for long enough the green apples come tumbling out at you.

The finish is fairly subtle, but long and mouth coating, the oils don’t want to go anywhere, and nor do I want them to. It’s creamy, fudge and gentle fruits on a warming chest with oaks coming through in just the right amount to help you enjoy this aged beauty.

Water’s not needed with this, even at it’s higher than normal ABV… but if you like it at a lower strength then a drop doesn’t hurt the nose at all, it helps a few more aromas come out. On the mouth it also doesn’t hurt it one bit, it makes it that little smoother than it already was, and helps more apples notes come through, and maybe allows a touch more spices too, don’t be scared, add a drop and make your money go further.

A very expensive whisky this, but you can completely tell it’s quality from the very first moment, unfortunately it’s out of my financial reach, but if I had the money sitting around spare then I wouldn’t hesitate to get a bottle of this.

Sample from Tomintoul.
Available from Master Of Malt – £223.70


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