The Tomatin Distillery was established in 1897 at the peak of the Victorian Whisky Boom by three men, John MacDougall, John MacLeish and Alexander Allan, along with a handful of investors.
The chosen location may have been inspired by the history of illicit distillation on the site, however, despite being very isolated (Tomatin is over 1000 feet above sea level on the eastern edge of the Monadhliath Mountains), it was also a very practical location.
The isolated location was perfect in almost every way, the only thing it couldn't offer was a workforce. So when construction at the distillery begun, the architect was instructed to build a number of houses to accommodate distillery workers. Over the years the number of houses onsite began to grow as did the distillery itself and there are now 30 houses on site which Tomatin continues to offer to its employees.
In 1956 the original two stills, which were capable of producing 450,000 liters, were joined by another pair. Only 2 years later another two stills were added. Once full capacity was realised it was again time to increase potential output and 1961 saw the total still count reaching 5 pairs with another single still joining them in 1964.
1974 saw the most significant boost to capacity with the total number of stills reaching 23 (12 wash and 11 spirit) requiring seven spirit safes and with the capacity to produce around 12 million litres of alcohol every year.
At this time Tomatin was the largest distillery in Scotland!
Since that time, the focus has changed and the distillery has gone from strength to strength and one of those strengths is this release, the Tomatin 21 Year, released in December 2009!
This unique single malt was crafted using whiskies which have been aged between 21 – 24 years with only six casks. The use of both North American and European oak casks help to give this whisky a lovely balanced feel. The master distiller selected whiskies matured in re fill casks. Cask 31648 to 31654; a combination of 6 ex bourbon casks & 1 refill Sherry butt.
If you can’t find this one, I highly recommend the 14 Year!