Spurred on to gain more single cask Tormore experience after a random/chance purchase of a 1992 24yo Whiskybroker single cask Tormore [blog], I acquired five samples from independent bottlers who are leading the charge – though Chivas to their credit did replace the 12yo with a 14 & 16yo in 2014.
Tormore 1995/2012 17yo DL OMC #9036 [340 bts] 50% WB85.60
- N: Initially fruity before heading porridgy/bready, coppery and with a honeyed hay-like pong. It’s thoroughly balanced however.
- T: A fairly simple malt, and much like the Whiskybroker Tormore, this is rough-ish, edgy and entertaining – a ducker-and a diver – though it smoothes right out on opening.
- F: A reasonably hard worker with a balanced sweet-to-bitter>sour profile and dryish grapefruit>Angostura notes.
- C: Simple yet decent, balanced juice.
Scores 84 points
Tormore 1995/2013 18yo DL Old Particular sherry finished cask #10053 [277 bts] 48.4% WB86.40
- N: Pancake-like with creamy hay, lime cubes and a sweet sugary>coppery pong. I enjoyed the sweetness coupled with a medium-roasted char – a profile character that applied across the flight. This speaks plenty of a bourbon cask, little sherry – but that’s not a complaint.
- T: A little water helps it along, but its arrival with a developing malty pong isn’t quite right. Even though it’s more rounded than the previous 17yo and with a little more toasted bourbon oaky weight, it’s generally vague & hazy.
- F: It’s close to going over age-wise, but personally I’m content enough with the sweetish firmly oaky/creamy sustained finish – but then I do like my oak! Sour chalk, malty hummus and damp oak>ash at the death.
- C: Parts of it I certainly like, but that’s offset against some iffy notes and a hazy vagueness.
Scores 83 points
Tormore 1995/2015 20yo SV hogshead cask #3877 & 3887 43% WB84.57
- N: Again there’s a fruity bready vibe with lightly dusted floury notes turning to chalk powder and with lime cubes>Cool mints>[untouched] Wrigley’s chewing gum. This is a nose that harks of 1970’s [Bunna-like] bourbon beauties with an Irish-fruity crystal maltings vibe also.
- T: A fairly plain sailing & heartily warming rounded Speyside-style whisky, malty-fruity with a gently growing Fisherman’s friend note.
- F: Herbal aniseed and more fisherman’s friend,… in all the good ways.
- C: I expected more of an event, but this is decent session/mature campfire whisky nevertheless.
Scores 84 points
Tormore 1992/2015 23yo SV bourbon cask #5690 & 5691 [230 bts] 53% WB86.17
- N: A clear step-up here in terms of oak levels, one that positively sings of the stuff. Bourbon-y Rusks, dry dunnage-y mould and a couple of ‘dad noises’ sets up a pleasing picture.
- T: Immediately it’s the mouthfeel that sets this 23yo apart from the rest. There’s plenty of creme caramel with bitter-sweet cakes & biscuit sugars during a super-long travel,….
- F: …. and it’s still going,.. and wont be pigeon holed just yet. To give you the gist, it’s like licking the inside of an old charred oak barrel with notes of dry damp mould, tea leaves, caramel and hot chocolate for example. It’s a dynamic mover there’s no doubt and everyone will make different lists. Concludes with toasted ash & coffee dregs though it’s not a dry finish at all, in case you were wondering.
- C: Right up my street. Highly recommended if you can still find it.
Scores 88 points
Tormore 1988/2016 27yo HL OMC #12239 [268 bts] 50% WB0
- N: Sharing a similar [distillery character?] pong to some of the previous drams, we’ve creamy oak with a heavy sour and a suggestion of some awesomely complex sugars on opening – I’d love a whole bottle to find out. For now, it’s treacle & Bakewell tart in the main. As a whole it becomes denser all the time. With a meatiness and cheap Armagnac notes, I’m beginning to wonder if this has been in an oloroso cask. Just says refill butt on the label.
- T: More treacle tart, plenty of char and peppermint tea with a meaty sulphury/sherry hue & a lovely chew. This would work so well in hotter climates.
- F: With a waxy sherry ‘ting’ going on, I picked out a little yet distinct Dupeyron VS Armagnac note, chocolate liqueur and icing sugar to finish. Clean, slightly ashy/measured char at the death.
- C: If it’s not overly blatant, I think sherry oak suits Tormore, and this is certainly a positive example where nothing is too exaggerated – it all calmly comes to you in good time. Seems similarly comfortable with bourbon too, if able to age well.
An interesting/alternative whisky all-rounder, crowd pleaser surely and a perfect dessert dram, certainly.
Scores 87 points
So what have we learned, if anything, about the Tormore profile – from this flight at least. Reflections:
- Nose: When the cask isn’t dominant the nose was bready-malty with a sweet coppery>pong and some short lived fruitiness. Does Tormore take a wide cut I wonder?
- Taste/development: A mixed bag but with a generalised sense of a herbal>fresh malty-sweet, metallic/coppery profile followed by a vague/day dreamy development.
- Finish: Cask dependant, and where many of the good surprises tended to lurk. Generalising, a herbal<fruity-sour was arguably the most common trait throughout.
With thanks to Chris for your insights and company.