Tomintoul 12 Year Old Sherry Cask Finish Scotch Review


By Kurt Maitland

Rating: C+

Tomintoul 12 YO Sherry Finish

Tomintoul 12 Year Old Sherry Finish
(Credit: Kurt Maitland)

The Tominitoul is a relatively new distillery by Scottish standards, founded in 1964. During that short time the distillery has been:

  1. Owned by Scottish and Universal Investment Trust in 1973,
  2. Part of Scottish and Universal when it was sold on to Whyte & Mackay in 1989.
  3. Part of Whyte & Mackay when it was bought soon by American Brands in 1990 and
  4. Sold off to its current owner, Angus Dundee, in 2000.

With it’s history marked by such frequent handovers, it’s hard to say that Touinitoul has had the time to develop a rich history of its own. For now, it is best known as a reasonably priced single malt, and the distillery has started to release limited editions and older expressions to expand their appeal, such as this sherry cask finish.

The Scotch
Color: New copper.
Nose: Dark chocolate with a hint of lemon zest.
Taste: The Oloroso finishing and low-end 40% abv can’t hide the astringency and the muddled taste of this release. It’s neither fish nor fowl. It’s not the smooth sherry-finished whiskey you would expect from a Speyside distillery, and this release has no one element that makes this uneven journey worthwhile.

At first taste, it seems that the 18 months listed on the label wasn’t enough time in Oloroso to bind the disparate flavors that appear here. There are hints of fruit, cinnamon spice, and a nutty dark chocolate, but they don’t last long and can’t pierce the gummy-textured astringency that dominates this release.
Finish: Cinnamon gum with some of the fruits that I expected in the main body of this whiskey. I get some of what I hoped to make up the body of this release but it’s a bit too little, too late.

Water seems to help bring the dark chocolate of the Oloroso to the fore and does cut through the astringency a bit. It gives one a glimmer of what this release could have been.

This is a bit of a puzzle. I wanted it to be smooth and straightforward with some fruitiness, some chocolate, essentially a simple (i.e. standard) non-smoky dram. The astringency taints everything. Like the Rolling Stones have foretold, “You can’t always get what you want.” As I mentioned above, this release was finished by spending 18 months in an Oloroso Sherry Cask.

The Price
This release runs around $57 to $70, which in my opinion is too much for what it offers. If you want to try it, seek it out at one of the better stocked bars in your locale and see for yourself.

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