Tomatin 18 y.o Oloroso – Taste Review 3a.
For those of you who read my review on the Tomatin 18 y.o Oloroso Cask, you may remember that I had some problems with the sample after adding water. A strong burnt rubber taste occurred.
Well, with a slight remainder in the bottle, I resolved to taste it again, but remembering not to add the water! But despite not diluting my spirit, a burnt rubber note was still there. Perhaps now my palate had been exposed to it, I was able to pick it out.
This convinced me something was definitely not right with this dram, and was putting it down to variations in the batches, although how this slipped through I had no idea.
It wasn’t until I was rinsing the empty bottle out that I found my probable cause – some sort of corrosion or contamination in the cap.
Why did I not taste this before? Well, it is probable that my first taste, the alcohol masked it, and this is why I thought it was poor only after adding water. By diluting the spirit, you can start to pick out individual flavours. This was 46% so not too strong, but a little water will help it release what’s below the surface. With cask strength, you get too much spirit burn to taste many flavours, so it’s sometimes best to add a teaspoon of spring water straight away.
By the second taste a few days later, I knew the taste was there, and I could pick it out. I don’t have a super sense of taste – my affection for 80’s music and Pineapple on a pizza should confirm that! It’s when we build up a databank of tastes in our heads that we have the experience to recognise things if we experience them again.
That particular bottle was purchased from a specialist whisky shop in Speyside although I will not name it. I believe the gunk in the cap was the cause of the bad taste. While it may not have been a manufacturing defect in the seal or cap, it could have just as easily have been because the bottle had been stored horizontally and the spirit had affected the seal. This is most likely to have occurred in transit as a dedicated whisky retailer would have known NEVER to store whisky on its side. However, one such retailer I visited last week had two bottles on display on their side.
Or still there is the chance the cap had nothing to do with it, and it was a bad cask used in this batch.
Whatever the case, I can try the second miniature and see if it’s the same. I trust it won’t be.