Tomatin Distillery announced back at the start of March that they were to launch a brand new limited edition Malt Whisky Series, which is now known as the “Five Virtues”. I was lucky enough to be invited to attend the launch event for the series, held in SWG3, Glasgow.
The inspiration behind Five Virtues are natures elements, Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water. One thing that sets this series apart from anything else is that Tomatin Distillery linked up with leading British contemporary artist Eva Ullrich in order for her to create special packaging and artwork for each specific virtue.
The event itself, saw each guest provided with a little Tomatin Distillery whisky glass, in order for the tasting to commence. Upon entering the studio, myself and The Gentleman Select were greeted with some quite delicious Whisky Sours, and canapes. After a drink or two we first headed over to Tomatin’s Interactive Virtual Reality station where you could take a tour of their visually impressive Distillery in the Speyside region, in the Highlands of Scotland. Then it was onto the task of tasting the brand new Five Virtues whisky and admiring the visually stunning and individual artworks created by Eva Ullrich.
The first and perhaps the most significant virtue, Wood is Aged in carefully selected French, American and Hungarian Oak Casks. Reminiscent of a perfectly balanced Old Fashioned Cocktail, with flavours of brown sugar, orange peel, soft vanilla and oaky spice.
The second phase of the cycle is matured in heavily charred oak casks which have previously been fired and then stripped and re-fired bringing out fresh vanilla flavours. The flavours have been likened to enjoying a sweet baked apple pie with a dusting of cinnamon. Creamy with a citrus zing this is a dry whisky with a spicy finish.
The third virtue, Earth is unusual for Tomatin, a peaty whisky due to it being made with peat dried malted barley and matured in refill Hogshead casks. The flavours are an intriguing mix of vanilla, burning heather and black fruits with sweet, light smoke. Unlike any other Tomatin Whisky Earth has a salty smokiness with a complex and ever changing finish.
The fourth virtue is Metal and on a personal note this was my favourite of the five. It is represented by Tomatin’s 12 copper stills where every drop of their whisky flows. Metal is matured in classic first fill Bourbon barrels. This was the sweetest and lightest of the virtues with flavours provided by creamy vanilla, milk chocolate and marshmallows (perfect for my sweet tooth). Notes of citrus alongside sweet spices also emerge.
The fifth and final virtue is represented by naturally pure and soft water from the Alt-na-Frith burn. Drawn year round the burn is Tomatin private water source which runs right through the grounds of the distillery. Fruity flavours are the name of the game here alongside hints of chocolate honeycomb and smooth toffee which are complimented by rich blood orange marmalade. This is a whisky that will warm your cockles.
Having never really been a whisky drinker this event opened my eyes to the complexities of creating each Whisky and I learned a lot from the various individuals there to talk about each specific virtue.
Tomatin recently won Distiller of The Year 2016 and Brand Innovator of The Year 2017 at the Whisky Magazine Icons of Whisky Scotland Awards.
Both Wood and Fire Virtues are available for purchase now, from £49.99. Earth, Metal and Water will be released later this year so if you are a whisky lover or collector keep your eyes peeled.