Gently Does It…..

Taste Review #36 – Tomintoul 10

The Tomintoul Distillery sits about 4 miles outside the village of Tomintoul, which is the highest village in the Highlands. It is close to the River Avon (pronounced a’an), which flows from Loch Avon, nestled behind the Cairngorm mountain. One might think all that lovely, fresh mountain water is what goes into the whisky, but it isn’t; the water comes from springs on Cairn Ballantruan, just behind the distillery.

Tomintoul Distillery.

The distillery isn’t an old one and was founded in 1964. It was taken over by London based Angus Dundee in 2000 and this core range 10 year old was released in 2002. Other ages in the core range are 14, 16, 21 and 33 year old, and these are matured in ex Bourbon casks made with American White Oak. The 12 year old is limited and is finished in Oloroso casks or Port casks . There are releases that are a mixture of peated and unpeated malts, known as ‘Peated Tang’ available in 15 year old or NAS. The distillery also releases Old Ballantruan, which is a peated malt at 50% abv.

The ‘Gentle Dram’ so the label says.

Angus Dundee also own the Glencadam distillery in Brechin, which is another miniature that I have to taste.

Tomintoul sits in close proximity to Glenlivet, so while currently it isn’t possible to visit the Tomintoul Distillery, there are other nearby options.

The A939 road goes through Tomintoul, and it links Speyside to Royal Deeside. It is usually the first road in Scotland closed by snow, normally on the Cockbridge – Tomintoul section. The same road takes you over the Lecht, which has a ski centre at the road’s summit of 2090 ft above sea level, which is one of the highest roads in the UK. If you want to achieve the highest, take the A93 route to Perthshire from Royal Deeside through Glenshee. This is 2199 ft above sea level at the Cairnwell Pass and also has a ski centre. It is also a quick way to last weeks review of the Ballechin malt made by Edradour distillery in Pitlochry.

Enough of the tourist advice and onto the whisky! Let’s see what the dram with the logo strap line of “the gentle dram” does for us.

Dram and Bottle




10 years Old


40% a.b.v




Initial sour smell off the bottle. Quickly dispersed to one of barley, butterscotch and coffee beans


Smooth mouthfeel, very light. Sweet, creamy, toffee notes. Honeycomb, toasted barley.


Short. Too short. Honey and malted cereal, chocolate at the extreme end.

Close up after more whisky added and a bit of cold water. Clear, so clearly chill filtered.


For me this was a completely flat dram. No excitement at all to start with. Perhaps I was expecting too much, because all said and done this was a pretty uncomplicated malt. And while I am writing this, perhaps that this should be celebrated.

While this might not set the world on fire for me, it is actually a very accessible malt for those starting out in a whisky journey. It certainly would be great at the start of a whisky flight.

It’s age or abv might be the issue. I got the flavours, but just not enough. I craved more. Even upping it to 43% might be better, and a couple of years more in the cask. While this malt isn’t for me, based on the uncomplicated flavours got, I would definitely be interested in trying the older malts from this distillery.

Would I give this a thumbs up? For the price point, it has probably been diluted to 40%. It has been chill filtered and there is colour added. But for a dram that costs about £30 for a 70cl bottle, that’s not bad value.

My miniature cost me about £6.50 from The Whisky Cellar at Inverness Airport.

Slainte Mhath!


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Photo credits

Distillery Photo – Ann Harrison (Under Creative Commons license CC BY-SA 2.0

Other photos – authors own.

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