Review – Some ‘sort of’ Tomatins

This review will look at two blended scotch whiskies, The Antiquary 12 and  Big ‘T’.

Ok, so they both contain an unspecified amount of Tomatin but are owned by the same company, under the umbrella of the Japanese owned Takara Shuzo Corporation.

The Antiquary blend has been around in one form or another since 1888 and has recently (2015) been re-launched and redesigned. This is a blend of grain and malt whiskies, with the malt content sitting at about 45 -55% (depending on your source, I couldn’t find a definitive answer)

The main grain whiskies involved are Cameronbridge and Port Dundas. It has been around in 12, 25 and 35 year old expressions over the years.

The Antiquary 12, 40%abv, blended whisky, from my collection (available here)

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On the nose there is a mix of apples and pine resin, along with lemons and a spot of chalk. Green wood and touches of faint peat appear amongst some strong hints of honeyed malt and touches of light spice and ginger.

The palate starts with a touch of faint smoke, perhaps even with a sneaky phenol here and there. There is a vague touch of tannins here and the faintest dark fruit hint. This drops away to leave some soft, in truth a little watery, fruity notes. Fruit cocktail syrup mainly, but without the texture, there is a slight almost metallic note as it transitions to the finish.

There is not much of a finish, touches of light smoke linger alongside some citrus pepper, ends on a bit of a cliff edge, dropping away sharply.

Noting exciting or challenging here. Pleasant enough with some good fruity notes.

NB: This was an older bottling of Antiquary 12, preceding the 2015 redesign, but I’d doubt by very long.

Big T was one blend I’d never come across, truth be told I’d never heard of it, until finding a open bottle on my Father-in-laws shelf.

Curiosity got the better of me…

Big ‘T’ Blended Scotch Whisky, 40%abv, swiped from a shelf (available here)

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The nose is heavy on playdough, linseed and some light fruits (mostly tropical). Elements of green wood and biscuity malt mix with a note reminiscient of Neatsfoot Oil (used for waterproofing and conditioning the leather of walking boots) Strange and a little chemically here, not off to a good start.

There is an unexpected touch of smoke that wasn’t indicated on the nose. In general it is much sweeter on the palate than on the nose. There is very little in terms of texture here, it is thin and a little watery. There are some good citrus elements and a quirky peach stone note.

The finish (what there is of it) is thin and a little sharp, again it is somewhat chemically. There are touches of ginger and some mild spice, however much like in the rest of the dram it seems overwhelmed by young and hot grain.

Glad I tried it? Yes.

Trying it again? No.

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