Over the years within my whisky drinking, and internet using, years I've been lucky enough to win a few things, well quite a few things actually, but this latest prize was fantastic and one i'll hang onto the memory of for a good while, not least because it was from one of my very favourite distilleries, the wonderful highland dram Tomatin.
Earlier in the year Tomatin held a wee competition using Instagram to promote the new Tomatin Legacy, the competition was to pop up a picture representing Legacy and then have people vote on it and i was lucky enough to win with the picture below:
The prize was a bottle of the wonderful Tomatin Legacy which i've been through a couple of bottles of this brilliant easy drinking value for money dram since and a VIP tour and Vertical Tasting for 4.
So finally getting the time on the 8th October myself, Steven, Darren and Frazer hopped on the train to Aviemore and the short hop by taxi to Tomatin Distillery for a real treat of a day.
So we arrived at the distillery and took the time to watch the DVD in the rather plush, and very very clean, visitors centre. There were actually a fair few comments between us about the cool seats made from casks, the awesome wine racks available made by a distillery employee and the general cleanliness of the facilities, if only all visitors centres were this nice.
We then had the pleasure of a private tour with Lorna who allowed us to ask lots of questions take lots of pictures and generally have a fantastic and relaxed tour. The Mash Tun (above) is one of the two in situ, this one having no longer being used was cut away to allow people to view inside it a lot easier, this is the only one of it's kind anywhere also.
I've been to a good number of distilleries but the sheer scale of things here at Tomatin still had me a little shocked, the distillery is pretty massive and the wash backs above) shows just how bit the place is.
Lots of nice new technology helping out in places but also really funny to see the guys in the still house are still using a wooden "knocker" to work out when to turn the heat up or down on the stills, it's touches like that that really make whisky what it is.
It was fantastic to see some lovely old casks (including one for my birth year - 1975) and with Tomatin having somewhere are 160,000 casks in their warehouses at the moment, and a capacity for over 200,000 of them the scale of things here really sinks in.
We then popped back to the visitors centre where Lorna led us through a tasting of Legacy, 12, 15, 18, 30 and Cu Bocan before i also had some of the bottle your own Bourbon and Sherry casks before deciding i loved the Bourbon one and bottling my own (thanks to Steven for the pic below of me bottling my very own bottle of 11yr Bourbon cask Tomatin).
I can't thank Tomatin and especially Lorna and Jen for all their help and making us so welcome and for the prize in the first place. We all had a great day out and i'd recommend to anyone that making the trip up the A9 is a really good thing to do and you really won't go wrong by visiting.
Check out Tomatin for more on their distillery and whisky range and remember to follow Tomatin on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.