Tomintoul Five Decades / 15 Years / 16 Years

Tomintoul has quite an extensive range, starting with the NAS Tomintoul Tlàth and then a 10 Years, 12 Years, 14 Years, 16 Years, 21 Years, 25 Years and 40 Years, plus a few extras like a Port finish and Five Decades.

For World Whisky Day is was able to try two mid-range expressions, plus a secret upcoming release.


Tomintoul 16 Years is the flagship bottling of the distillery. It is bottled from bourbon casks at 40%.


Tomintoul 16 Year OldTomintoul 16 yo
(40%, OB +/- 2018)

Nose: fairly neutral, with lots of malty notes, dried grasses and ripe apples. Juicy peaches. Pastry notes and vanilla biscuits, a little toffee. Just a hint of mint and light hazelnut, quite gentle.

Mouth: creamy body, with vanilla custard and boiled sweets but also a slightly rougher side, with nutty barley and cornflakes. Hints of apple pie, a little liquorice and very soft almond notes. Buttered toast. Hints of beer as well.

Finish: not too long, malty and sweet, with almonds and a slightly grassy aftertaste.

A decent, mild single malt with a fair price, even though it doesn’t feel like 16 years. Available from Master of Malt or TWE for instance.

Score: 80/100



Then we have a 15 year-old Port finished expression, an upgrade from the previous Portwood 12 year old (which I found surprisingly good, not being a Port fan, generally). It is matured for 12 years in bourbon casks and then finished for three additional years.


Tomintoul 15 Year Old - PortwoodTomintoul 15 yo ‘Portwood Finish’ (46%, OB +/- 2018)

Nose: candied nose, with red berry jam and more vanilla. Red berry jams, plums on syrup, hints of strawberries and cream. A big fruitiness mixed with oak spices and a similar maltiness underneath. Just a little potpourri.

Mouth: pomegranate juice and strawberry ice cream. Cake with soaked raisins. Then cinnamon and pepper. Toffee. Hints of liqueur filled white chocolates. Again very creamy, the Port is easily noticeable but the Tomintoul DNA is still there.

Finish: medium long with increasing dryness, the Port and chocolate combo lingers, with a light nutty edge.

Not a noticeable step up from the old 12 Years, but still a fair Port finished whisky. Available from Master of Malt or TWE for instance.

Score: 82/100



The last sample was a ‘secret malt’, so these notes were written blindly. It turned out to be the Tomintoul Five Decades, a special release to mark the 50th anniversary of spirit flowing from Tomintoul’s still. This composition contains casks from 1965, 1975, 1985, 1995 and 2005. They put the whisky back into casks for 18 months after they were vatted.


Tomintoul Five DecadesTomintoul Five Decades
(50%, OB 2015, 5230 btl.)

Nose: a much older profile, but intriguingly punchy. The fruits turned towards tropical notes (dried pineapple, apricots, golden apples) and there’s a nice dustiness and buttery layer on top. Cinnamon, light potpourri and aromatic spice. Hints of cedar wood.

Mouth: again quite fruity, with peaches, green banana and a hint of guava. Spicy oak, ginger, vanilla and leathery touches follow closely, the younger spirit tends to take the upper hand now. Also almonds and a hint of herbal tea.

Finish: quite long, more ginger, bananas, some praline and oak.

You do get the sense of old Tomintoul here, spiced up a little (literally) by the younger casks. Great nose and quite a quintessential Tomintoul overall. Available from Master of Malt or TWE for instance.

Score: 89/100