Popular Highland Distillery Tomatin has announced the release of Decades II, a unique expression that marries 21 casks, selected from key years throughout the last five decades.

Described as a tribute to the “Tomatin way of life”, Decades II, is bottled at 46%a abv and has been limited to a run of just 3,600 bottles, which will retail at £175.

With time spent maturing in a mix of traditional Scotch Whisky, ex-Bourbon, ex-Sherry and re-charred French oak casks from the last 50 years, Decades II is described as a “rich and complex” whisky.

The distillery team say it has initial bursts of fruits giving way to hints of “sweet pastry and wood shavings”, and aromas of both “cooked fruits” and floral coconut tones.

While on the palate, they say it features notes of “Christmas cake, maple syrup and fresh red berries” giving way to tropical fruits ahead of a long waxy, tropical finish.

Graham Eunson, distillery operations director at Tomatin said: “Balancing the flavour profiles of just a few casks can be a real challenge, so to marry five decades of Tomatin whisky in such a way that each cask compliments the next is a testament to the team, both those who work at Tomatin today and those that worked at Tomatin before us, who distilled and laid down some of the casks we’ve used.

“We’ve been the custodians of exceptional Scotch for generations, and that care and experience is really showcased by Decades II.”

As with the original Decades expression (released in 2011 to mark previous Distillery Manager, Douglas Campbell lifetime commitment to the distillery), Decades II combines some of the best whisky from Tomatin’s history, with each decade contributing a new flavour sensation:

1970s

Refill bourbon hogsheads: distilled on 23/02/1973, 10/07/1975 and 23/09/1977

Decades II’s robust flavour began by maturing in refill hogshead barrels. The malt has taken on very little oak influence, which has allowed the air and liquid in the casks to interact and develop a wide array of tropical fruit flavours.

1980s

Finished in first fill oloroso sherry butts: distilled on 02/12/1988

This 80s malt is sweet, fresh and has been finished for over three years in 1st fill Oloroso Sherry Butts, resulting in a whisky reminiscent of aged Cognac. It complements the fruity notes of the previous casks by contributing tones of aged leather, polished oak and dark roast coffee to the finished expression.

1990s

First fill bourbon barrels: distilled on 04/10/1995

Although well into its twenties, the characteristics of golden syrup and freshly baked pastries help make this bold malt stand up to the older casks. The use of 1st fill Bourbon Barrels adds subtle spices and a layer of overall warmth to the expression, as well as being the source of Decades II’s long, waxy finish.

2000s

Recharred verdejo wine barrels: distilled on 28/01/2000 and 05/06/2009

Post 2000, Tomatin began to experiment with a wider variety of casks. The malt used from the 2000s onwards has been matured in Verdejo wine casks that have been re-charred to harness the full influence of the French oak. This flavour journey compliments the addition of the 1990s bourbon cask, adding additional notes of spice as well as a sweetness to the malt.

2010s

Second fill French oak barrels: distilled on 14/03/2013

The young Tomatin from this second fill cask imparts the fantastic distillery character to Decades II. Fresh green fruits and malty characteristics are at the fore with subtle spices and toffee in the background, resulting in a vivacious malt to balance the flavours of the older casks.

About The Author

Sean Murphy

Driven by a passion for all things drinks-related, Sean writes for The Scotsman extensively on the subject. He can also sometimes be found behind the bar at the world famous Potstill bar in Glasgow where he continues to enhance his whisky knowledge built up over 10 years advising customers from all over the world on the wonders of our national drink. Recently, his first book was published. Dubbed Gin Galore, it explores Scotland's best gins and the stories behind those that make them.

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