Category Archives: Tomintoul

Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar dram # 1 – A.D. Rattray’s 15yo Tomintoul, Sherry cask # 9289


Region – Speyside – 61% ABV

Hon·or (änər): as defined by Oxford English Dictionary (this being the 3rd definition of many): Something regarded as a rare opportunity and bringing pride and pleasure; a privilege: ‘Mrs Young had the honour of being received by the Queen.’

hon·or (
änər): as accepted by me when I am asked to be *the* blogger to review all 25 Scotch Whisky Advent calendar drams by the good people that put this whole fancy thing together:

Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar

Con·fu·sion (kənˈfyo͞oZHən): as defined by me when it comes to Advent calendars.  What does this Jew know from Advents and such?

Actually, I know quite a lot. Being that we Jews are the vast minority basically everywhere other than New York and Israel, and that Christianity is ubiquitous and Christmasness is the law of the land from Oct 1 – Dec 26, there’s simply no dodging knowledge of Christmas customs.  I don’t knock such traditions. They’re quite beautiful, in fact. I may not follow them, but I do see the beauty.

So, here we find ourselves together, joining schwartzes, you and me, to do a series of things: discover whisky, appreciate a nice surprise (25 new whiskies per day from Dec 1 – Dec 25!!), and celebrate each day as something new and different.

Today, December 1, 2015, has us opening hole # 1 (sounds a bit dirty, yes, but keep your mind out of the gutter). In hole #1 (teehee) we find a 5cl bottle of 15yo Tomintoul from 1999. Cask # 9289 which has been bottled at 61% ABV.  That’s quite a way to kick off the days leading up to Dec 25th!!

We’re a strong group of men and women though, right? We laugh at 61% ABV – HA!

Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar

On the nose — Initially, it’s a bit sharp on the nose but after a few minutes, it’s still a little sharp on the nose. That said, let’s give a puff of air into the glass to dissipate the alcohol and see what happens…

Scotch Whisky Advent CalendarOh, wow, a wonderful sherry richness comes through! Orange and black pepper marmalade is to the fore followed by bitter chocolate and baked pears.

Quite a bit of spice on the nose (not heat now, spice) a la Cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and, get this, a hint of turmeric!

Finally, pickled walnuts and hints of sour grapes (interesting).

Scotch Whisky Advent CalendarIn the mouth — Easy entry, even for 61%. Silky mouthfeel with hints of quince jam, spiced charoset and the flavor of the smell of sweet potpourri that has a good amount of orange in it.

I don’t usually add water but I’m feeling adventurous.

Scotch Whisky Advent CalendarWith a few drops: roasted chicory and loads of honeysuckle make themselves known.  The richness here is huge without being too sherried/too oaky. In fact, there’s virtually no astringency even as we get to the finish.

Finish —  Somewhat short yet there a lasting nuttiness that is quite pleasant.

In sum —  Someone once said that any distillery that starts with a “T,” with the exception of Talisker, is “terrible.” I wholeheartedly disagree. This here cask of Tomintoul is proof that great whisky can be produced at any distillery.  This is a fine cask selection.  Thank you to A.D. Rattray for choosing this cask for the Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar!