Thursday, October 30, 2014

week 3 - 1988 was a good year for growing up, friendships and whisky...

Weird stuff has been happening in Canada that has left the majority of us simply shaking our heads. Fords back in office, radicalist attacks on home soil and non-consensual BDSM allegations for a well loved Canadian Icon. 2014 certainly won't be forgotten in many of our books. But I have to say the freakiest thing about this year for me is my daughter turns 30 next week! 

Moments like that make me think and be thankful for some of the memorable things in my life. I ended up calling a really good friend of mine as we hadn't talked in awhile, in a long while actually. We were extremely close when we were much younger however life pulled us in very separate directions but we always end up touching base and catching up. So there we were again catching up after not speaking to each other for almost a year. At one point he said all this shit in the news makes me realize how quickly it all goes by. I joked we were not that old and he kindly reminded me we had known each other since 1988. I did the math... OMG, I said as I put my hand on my forehead we have known each other for 26 years!? Nothing like a quick math lesson to realize that more than half of my life.

After work I went into my whisky room and picked up my Tomatin 1988. Coincidence?! I think not... Rarely seems to be in my life. So I grabbed a glass and my notebook. As I sat nosing, sipping and making notes I thought about the earlier conversation and it made me go back in time...    

1988... Good lord, I was 22 years old. Living on my own with my daughter (yes I was a really young mom). At that point I had a high school education with no family living close by but I was determined I would not be a "teen mom statistic". I worked hard to make our lives as good as it could be. Things that were important to me then: My child, my family, my friends. I was making $26,000 a year working as a telephone operator. I owned and paid $4500 for my Dodge Colt, a dozen eggs cost me 65 cents and if I went to a movie I could get in for $3.50. Life certainly seemed complicated at the time but in hindsight I realize it truly wasn't. 

I loved Elizabeth Manley
I don't really remember much about that year other than I broke up with my daughter's dad, Canada hosted the winter Olympics and Prince Charles escaped an avalanche (don't ask me why I remember that?!) but I do know that my friendship with Darren started that year, simply stated the way most of my adventures always begin.

I was living on the 4th floor of an apartment high rise, it was summer and I recall it was my day off. I was sitting on the balcony reading while Michelle napped. The next thing I knew there was a canoe going by my floor. It got stuck on the banister of my balcony and I could hear a couple of guys arguing. I got up and walked over to the edge. I looked up as well as down and sure enough there was a young man two floor above me with a rope and a young man on the ground with a rope trying to hoist a canoe.

They sheepishly stared at me for a moment and asked that I set the canoe free. Me, being the silly child I can be sometimes asked what exactly they planned on doing with the canoe once they got it up to the 6th floor. Long story short one of their friends had lost a bet and they were going to replace his bed with the canoe. I was amused by this and decided I would help. "Where will you be storing the bed?" I asked as I released the canoe tip from the rung. Peter (I later got both their names) said they were simply going to put it in his spare bedroom so I said, you can store it here if you like. Darren started laughing like crazy and said "Deal!". They came by about an hour later with the bed and I stored it in my dining room. Darren and I exchanged telephone numbers so they could get it in a few days after they drove their friend Dan a little crazy. 

The whole thing went over like a lead balloon with Dan and after 2 days they put him out of his misery. Darren called me about a week later and offered to drop off a bottle of wine to thank me for being an accomplice. I accepted. We both agree often that he and I clicked from the moment we sat down that night. We talked and drank wine until 3:00 in the morning. We dated... and both agreed that was the stupidest thing we could have ever done because the reality was it felt like I was kissing my little brother. 

However, Darren is proof that friendships can span a lifetime. Oddly enough I met a very special man not long after that, we married, had Erica and the rest is Lassie history...
Michelle now 30
I'm almost 48 now and have two beautiful daughters who are educated, independent and not only do I love them, I like them too. I "did" good. I'm really proud of that. Things that are very important to me now: My kids, my family and my friends. Everything has changed but oddly enough the things that mean the most to me haven't. My life has been interesting and even though the hardships may have been plentiful during those first few years I wouldn't change them for the world. Yup, 1988 was a really great year. 

The segway to whisky you say?! Well of course in 1988 someone at Tomatin was making whisky and even though it was the worst of times (critical economic downturn) Tomatin thankfully survived. So, in 2014 Graham Eunson and his team decided it was time to bottle the whisky from 1988 as vintage batch release. Vatted from a combination of ex-bourbon and ex-Port casks to create what is essentially one of my favorite Tomatin's to date. 

Tomatin 1988, 46% ABV & non-chill filtered

Nose: My first sniff hit me like the fantastic memory it holds. Have you ever had jam cookies!? These were a staple at my grandmother's house. This was followed by orange creamsicles.

Palate: The sweet & creamy flavor is there like lemon squares. After it sits in the glass a little while it developed into chocolate covered cherries. It was quite a change in direction that surprised me. 

Finish: Long, lingering with a refreshing quality (sort of like eating parsley after a meal). Stayed with me for quite some time.
I've tried 11 different Tomatin's over the course of the last 2 years and I have to say this is by far my favorite so far. It's inviting on the nose, delicious on the palate and quite satisfying from start to finish. 

As stated, 1988 was a great year for many things including this whisky. I do hope Tomatin considers keeping this one as part of their core range as I believe it's a keeper that many people will enjoy. 

Available in the UK, USA and of course Alberta Canada markets. If you live in Calgary or Edmonton they are having Tomatin tastings the first and second week of November.  It's a fantastic chance to try quite a few of their whiskies including this one.

Next week I will be reviewing a North American Exclusive Tomatin Release - French Oak 12 Year Old.

Until then, get out there and try some Tomatin!!!

I certainly will be.



  1. 1988 is certainly a good year. Among other things, it is the year that both us Whisky Waffle boys were born! I've only ever had one Tomatin - the 12 year old at the wonderful Fiddlers bar in Drumnadrochit - and enjoyed it, although it didn't necessarily stand out among others I tried. Apparently some of the older expressions are amazing, though. Have you found this to be the case?

    1. Thank you for commenting. I agree. I own the 15, 18 and love the older versions I have tried such as the 1989. I got the 12 year old for $26, you CANNOT beat that. If you have a chance to try any of their lines, I highly recommend it to anyone who will listen ;)