On this the 251st birthday of Scottish poet and national icon Robert Burns, we here at the Malt Impostor would like to give thanks for and celebrate, as Burns did in his 1785 poem, Scotch drink—and in particular, Scotch whisky. Giving thanks for something typically entails looking past its limitations to celebrate its benefits, and given the dram in question here, this set of notes will be no exception. The character of the Tomatin 12 is notably negligible, but it is nonetheless single malt Scotch whisky, and that is a beautiful thing. In the words of the Bard:
Let other poets raise a fracas
‘Bout vines, an’ wines, and’ drucken Bacchus,
An’ crabbit names an’stories wrack us,
An’ grate our lug:
I sing the juice Scotch bear can mak us,
In glass or jug.
There is much here that wine cannot give us, whether it’s the aroma of caramel on the nose, the flavor and texture of six day-old circus peanuts—or the gel used for dental molds–on the tongue. And what wine could offer a hint of hot honeysuckle, followed by an odd drying sensation on the finish akin to sucking on a few crystals of Damp-Rid? The answer is none—but among Scotch whiskies, even the bland Tomatin 12 can bring you this experience. Furthermore, no vintage will yield an additional burst of floral aromas once you add a little water to it, nor could a wine ever playfully evoke the salinity of the solution that once stored Sammy Davis Jr.’s glass eye—while the lowly Tomatin 12 can do all of this and more. To quote the Bard again:
O Whisky! soul o’ plays and pranks!
Accept a bardie’s gratfu’ thanks!*
The Tomatin 12 is the fact that I will not live to be 251–ahead of the fact that I don’t have to wear frilly shirts, but a bit behind the fact that I have managed to live longer than 37 years–and well behind cheese.
* excerpted from Robert Burns, “Scotch Drink,” (1785).