Distillery of the month: Tomintoul

I’ve thought of making a thing about Distillery of the Month (DotM), and with a new (for us) distillery making it’s way onto the Norwegian market, this is as good a time as any. First distillery out of the blocks is the Speyside distillery Tomintoul.

Tomintoul Distillery was founded in 1964 by two Glaswegian whisky brokerages, Hay & Macleod & Co and W. S. Strong – the distillery company was called Tomintoul Distillery Ltd. At the time it was a great shortage of malts for blending, causing for a small boom in the “build a distillery”-business (sounds familiar?). The site chosen was the small village of Tomintoul (one of Scotlands highest), where planty of clean, fresh water could be found in the Ballantruan Spring. The closeness to the famous Glenlivet-area was probably also a factor in the decision.

The two companies ran the distillery until 1973, when it was sold to the Scottish Universal Investment Trust (from 1981 a part of Lonrho – a London-based investment company operating mainly in Africa, previously known as the London and Rhodesian Mining Company ). The distillery was managed by SUIT’s distillery company Whyte & Mackay, who in 1974 doubled the number of stills from 2 to 4.

Whyte & Mackay was in 1988 sold to Brent Walker Group who only two years later sold it to American Brands (later to be known as Fortune Brands). Fortune Brands sold in 2000 the distillery to the Scottish blender and bottled Angus Dundee Plc.

The new owners quickly did quite a few changes in the bottling of the malt, which earlier had been sort of neglected – though the bottle it had tended to stick out in the whisky shelves, looking more like a perfum bottle than a whisky bottle.

New editions have come out, and they have also jumped on the bandwagon with a peaty malt – first marketed as Old Ballantruan. After the initial bottling it has become a standard member of the Tomintoul range – Tomintoul Peaty Tang.

Distillery Facts:

  • Start of operation: 1965
  • Capacity: over 3,000,000 liters annually
  • Mashtun: 7.62 meters (25 feet) in diameter, 11.2 tonns grist per mash
  • Washbacks: 9 – 44,000 liters, stainless steel
  • Stills: 4 – 2xwash (44,906 liters) and 2xspirit (39,322 litres)
  • Warehouses: 4 – racked (7-high), capacity of 76,000 cask

Current range:

  • Tomintoul Peaty Tang (40%)
  • Tomintoul 10yo (40%)
  • Tomintoul 12yo 1995 Oloroso Cask Finish (20 months) (40%)
  • Tomintoul 16yo (40%)
  • Tomintoul 27yo (40%)
  • Tomintoul 1976 (40%)

House style: New mown grass, grain seeds.

Website: http://www.tomintouldistillery.co.uk

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