Whisky Review – Tomatin Contrast

Tomatin Contrast

46% ABV

Non Chill Filtered

No Added Colouring

£96.11 From Master of Malt

This is an awesome idea, and it caught my attention as soon as I learnt of its impending release. A pack of 2 35cl bottles of vatted single malt from the following years, 1973, 1977, 1988, 1991, 2002 & 2006. One of the bottles contains whisky only matured in ex-bourbon casks, the other from ex-sherry casks. The perfect side by side comparison, showing how the different oak types will effect the spirit therein. 
Limited to only 5,400 sets, so if you like Tomatin and fancy your own side by side experiments be quick with this purchase. 

Bourbon Cask. 


Lots of tropical fruits on first pour. Waxy lemons. Juicy pineapple. Quite confectionary, pineapple cube territory. Powdered sugar sweetness. Vanilla cake mix. Mild oak spices. A little time in the glass and more fruit comes forward. Oranges, bright and ripe, more fruity boiled sweet greatness. It’s a monster of a fruit bowl.  


Ooo, that’s tasty. Lots of fruit. Some nice waxiness to the mouth filling texture. Apple, orange, pineapple, pear juices, with some watery syrup. This is a fruit salad of some finest quality. There’s some nice barley sugar sweetness in the development which goes very well with the mouthfeel, giving a rich caramel feel on the tongue. A touch of chocolate is experienced also. 


Dusty sugar sweetness and toffee remains for a medium-long length, with a gentle remnant of the fruit bowl slowly fading away. A touch of oak dryness at the very end. But more sips demanded!

Adding water.

Just 2 small drops. This is perfect as is. Shouldn’t have done it. The nose is much lighter, only mild caramel and no great fruit talking. The palate is still flavoursome, but there is less of an event here now (I’m wondering if going between the two has weakened the experience of the bourbon cask or it’s the water?). The finish is still fruit and lovely, but I would not water this one at all in the future. 

Sherry Cask. 


Juicy dark fruits. Rich fruitcake. Plump sultanas. Rum and raisin. Cloves and Christmas ices. Glacé cherries. These flavours suggest sherry monster, but it’s more delicate than that and with time we have more rich toffee, chocolate and caramel. Confectionary again as with the bourbon cask, but this time more chocolate confectionary rather than old fashioned sweets. 


Oh my, that is richly delicious. Lots of thick toffee, cherry chocolate. Very chewy with again a beautifully coating mouthfeel. Second taste and all the chocolate, toffee and caramel comes about in droves. It’s a caramel chocolate bar of Cadbury proportion. Not heavy on the sherry concentration, although in the development we get more of a nutty note reminiscent of Oloroso maturation, some nice roasted hazelnuts going on.


A spicy end to things, cloves and some mild cumin, sultanas are making their appearance now, and the sherry is more evident after the swallow. Some mild fruit cake, and again slowly fading chocolate and toffee confectionary. Some dusty oak at the very finish. 

Adding water.

Tiny drop. Don’t want to spoil things. Oh bugger. As with the bourbon cask this has not done any favours. The nose weakened. The palate still very lovely, but missing the body and richness previously experienced. The finish has a bit of a weakness now. Dammit. Don’t water it people, enjoy at its intended strength.  


Bloody lovely. A fantastic set, an educational experience (good excuse to get it past the other half etc!) and thoroughly quality in the bottle. Personally, I would not go anywhere near water with these whiskies. DO NOT DO IT…please.  

Which one is best. Not saying, horses for courses and depends on how you feel. They are both special, and the spirit shines as does the quality of the casks, not overexerting the spirit. I guess these are mostly if not all are refill casks. Just a thought. 

I wonder if other distilleries will take note and follow suit with such sets?
There are few of these sets going to be available, and I’m going for one myself. So please don’t buy them all before I get paid. Thanks. 🙂

Thanks so much to Tomatin for providing the sample.