Founded in 1965 by Tomintoul Distillery LTD, the distillery is a large producer of whisky for both the single malt whisky and Blended whisky industry. The whisky is produced in quantity, but quality is still attainable, with a capacity to produce 3.3 million litres of pure Alcohol, most may go into blends and foreign markets but we still get to see some here in the UK.
On a recent visit we were given some of the figures and when you take these in you realise the size of the operation, I appreciate the distillery is not one of the giants of the whisky world but when you look round the site you begin to realise just how big this distillery actually is.
The distillery is producing somewhere in the region of 73,000 litres of whisky a week, which takes an around 175 tons of barley to achieve this every week, this all goes through the Porteus mill, producing grist at a rate of 11.6 tons every 10 hours. This all goes into a 70,000 litres stainless steel mash tun. There are 6 stainless steel wash backs in use which then incorporates a 60 hour fermentation time.
There are 4 stills, 2 wash stills and 2 spirit stills but all 4 are actually the same size, these are under the watch of Stuart, who has worked at the distillery for 11 years and has had control of the stills for around a year..
The distillery produces malt for just about every market you can name, with blends and single malt alike going into these markets..
Tomintoul 21 Year Old
Nose.. This starts of with a lot of sweetness on the nose, vanilla, toffee and honey all tell you this is a true bourbon matured whisky. Hints of fresh fruits and gentle spices eventually begin to compete and with a subtle hint of freshly cut grass hiding in the back ground you also get the feeling this could be giving some delicate notes a little time to showcase the delicate side of Tomintoul.
Palate.. There is a gentle heat and spiciness to begin with that just softens into freshly peeled apples, poached pear, vanilla sponge cake and a little lemon torte giving a little balance.
Finish.. Fades away too quickly.
Thoughts.. You know there is a lovely single malt whisky hiding here and with the 40% abv for this 21 year old, it just gives you the feeling this is very poorly let down with the decision to bottle at the minimum strength… The aromas and flavour delight the senses, you want to keep sipping but its all just a little disappointing when you finish the glass and its already gone from the memory! Add a little more ABV to get this to around 46% and I can guarantee you this would have been one of the whiskies I put forward at the end of the year when I talk about what has impressed me, instead I will finish my bottle with a smile and unfortunately probably forget all about it..