Day 1 A.D. Rattray Tomintoul 1999 | Blog # 90

Finally the day has dawned and here we all are getting our 2nd edition Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar underway. For those special 400 that managed to find a 1st edition last year, welcome back. For all the newcomers, welcome to an amazing ride through the Scotch Whisky landscape.

Firstly a wee bit of an explanation about the various calendar features. You might have noticed when opening the two front doors that there is an open envelope on the left with 3 items.

1.     Featured Distillery Postcard – This edition’s featured distillery is Tomintoul which also happens to be our kick off whisky.

2.     Launch party invitation – For those of you that unwrapped the calendar this morning you might be able to squeeze into tonights Calgary launch party if you give me a call (403) 862 3577. if you live in Edmonton we have also planned a party at the last minute for the 2nd of December. You can also call me to see if there is any room at that event.

3.     Single Cask Nation information page. (Spoiler alert – I can confirm that there will be at least 1 Single Cask Nation whisky in this years edition)

In the closed envelope on the right hand side there is the 2nd edition booklet. Lots of information on our Independent Bottlers for this years edition and room in the back for those of you that want a permanent record of the journey you are about to embark on.

Right in the middle under the 2nd Edition logo is your whisky tasting glass from Samaroli. There is an information page at the back of your booklet telling you all about it.

The blank space bottom left is an addition to the 2nd edition. An exclusive lapel pin just for the 2nd edition calendar community. Those of you that purchased a calendar last year may be thinking this a little unfair as you were our faithful first customers that defied the odds to hunt down one of the rare 400. Well we couldn’t not make something a little special for you. A very limited run of 1st edition pins are awaiting your email to give me your address and we will post it out to you.

Righteo then, with glass in hand and pin firmly affixed to your collar we are ready to get started.

A.D. Rattray Independent Bottlers – 1999 Tomintoul Speyside Distillery aged for 15 years in a Fino Sherry butt and bottled at the cask strength of 61%. Tasted in a custom Spiegelau Whisky glass made for Samaroli Independent Bottlers.

Tomintoul is a Speyside Distillery opened in 1964. Famed for producing the largest bottle of whisky in the world with 105.3 liters. That would take quite a party to knock over 🙂 The distillery is owned by Angus Dundee who purchased Tomintoul in 2000 and also owns the Glencadam Distillery. Modern in appearance by Scottish Distillery standards Tomintoul unfortunately does not offer public tours as yet.

For those of you new to cask strength, it literally means that A.D. Rattray remove the whisky from the barrel and pop it straight into the bottle. Most whiskies are cut down with water before bottling to an average of between 40 % and 46%.

By keeping it at cask strength A.D. Rattray are inviting you to add as much or as little water as you would like.

Collector’s Edition calendar holders should open up the door in the middle at the bottom of the calendar and take out your Angel’s Share Glass hand blown Scottish Pot Still water dropper. Perfect to just add one drop at a time. For those that couldn’t find the Collector’s Edition we have the water droppers available separately for sale on our website over at Secret Spirits.

Nose:     “Oh bring us the figgy pudding”, This is a perfect whisky to get us all in the mood for Christmas. Rich fruitcake with plum sauce and a touch of brandy custard. Even with the ample wide opening of the Samaroli glass it pays to approach it slowly and let the aroma just caress your nose. Dive in too quickly and the 61% might be a bit overwhelming.

Palate:   More rich Christmas pudding spices, tangerine toffee fudge and a touch of licorice right at the finish.

Water:     I went two drops with my Angel’s Share water dropper and note that I only poured a tasting amount from my bottle. You may need more if you are drinking the entire dram. Just go slowly. You can always add more water. Straight away eases that 61% down and adds some drier softer Fino Sherry notes.

Fino Sherry is a lighter drier and fresher style of sherry normally consumed in Spain with tapas before the main course. Made with a strain of yeast that creates a foam on top of the wine in the barrel protecting it from oxidation and leaving it fresh and vibrant for bottling. Like a fresh white wine Fino should be consumed optimally within a year of bottling unlike heavier and sweeter styles of sherry like Oloroso and Pedro Ximenez.

What a great way to start this Advent journey. Tomorrow we welcome a new wee independent bottler to the calendar for the first time owned by an industry legend.

I look forward to seeing everyone tonight at the Launch party.

Thank you all for joining Secret Spirits on this 2nd edition journey. We would love to get as much feedback from everyone so please jump in with comments as much as possible.

**My friend and fellow blogger Joshua Hatton is blogging side by side with me this year as our special guest. Be sure to check out his take on the Tomintoul 1999.

The First Edition Calendar Whisky on this day last year was the Wemyss Citrus Burst Linkwood 1997 – 15yo Blog #33

For those of you loving the Tomintoul here are the retailers in Alberta that have the only 60 full size bottles available:


Co-op Wines and Spirits

Point McKay Wine and Spirits

Zyn The Wine Market


Wine and Beyond


Andrew Hilton

Medicine Hat

Trackside Liquor Store

Happy hunting!



  1. Chris Demeule says:

    I am glad to have found this blog! I was not sure how to describe the nose – but you hit it right on the head. The sherry finish just smacked of toffee and french brandy. Loved it.

    • Jonathan says:

      Everyone has a different palate which is why we always have a guest blogger Joshua Hatton over at Jewmalt is awesome and his notes are so different to mine. It’s what makes whisky so great and diverse.

  2. Laura says:

    What a great day 1, my favourite so far, if the rest are as good as the first, we’re in for a real treat.
    Looking forward to day 2.
    Thanks for the info.

    • Jonathan says:

      Hehe so great that day 1 is your favorite so far… I can promise many more super delicious whiskies to follow. Thanks so much for joining the fun

  3. Jeremy says:

    Awesome day1!! This was a gift from my wonderful wife for Xmas, and I am sorry to admit that I didn’t experience 1st edition. I will experience every successive edition that I can going forward!

    Happy tasting to all.

  4. Lindy says:

    Hi folks!
    I surely appreciate the opportunity to read the blog post re: this Tomintoul – it’s so fascinating. And yes, a few drops of water changes the taste, really opens it up. I do taste the brandy notes. Like Laura, this is my "favourite". grin I’m in Edmonton, wish I could join the party tomorrow but I work … perhaps we could have another get together in a few weeks? I suppose folks might be a wee busy in a few weeks. Well, regardless, my best wishes to all. Thanks for creating this, Jonathan.

    • jonathan says:

      Sorry you missed out on the party we had a great time at Chateau Louis Piano Bar I will be up in Edmonton again later next week if you fancy catching up for a dram or a pint.

  5. Chris says:

    I got this calendar on actual Christmas (I’m in Winnipeg, and my wife had to get it sent over), so I’m going to be drinking them in February (starting today).

    To me, the nose had notes of caramel. I had to add a few small drops of water to the dram (about 6, I poured the entire dram), but when I did it really opened up notes of vanilla for me.

    At the risk of repeating everyone else’s joke: Favourite dram so far!

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