Tormore 1988 (Antique Lion's of Spirits) Review

“Perfect Imperfection (All of Me)”

Whisky Review # 869

Country: Scotland
Region: Speyside
Brand: Tormore 1988 - Birds Label - Distilled in 1988 - 254 Bottles
Bottled By: Antique Lion's of Spirits (Italy) in 2016
Type: Single Malt Single Cask Scotch Whisky
Age: 28 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 50.4% - Cask Strength
Maturation: Bourbon Cask - Cask # Unknown
Chill Filtration: No
Average Price: US$ 315 (April 2020
Price/Quality Ratio: Okay considering its age and quality
Buying Advice: 👍Interesting "Old Style" Speyside Malt with character


Golden (Natural Colour)


It's always nice to smell and taste an older Whisky. Despite its age, the Nose of this Tormore is Fresh, Clean, Fruity (Tropical Fruits and Citrus) and Grassy. It's mainly Sweet with a few Sour notes for balance. The Alcohol is nicely integrated and there's not a whole lot of Wood influence suggesting a less active cask. I wouldn't call it special and complex but it's quite pleasant.

Main Aromas:

Sweet Barley, Salted Butter, Ripe Orchard Fruit (Apple, Pear, Nectarine), Lemon and Orange, Pineapple, Grass and Hay, Floral Soap/Perfume, Herbal Tea, Nuts, Cinnamon and Milk Chocolate.

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Caramel, Vanilla, Honey, Grapefruit, Mango, Charred Oak, Leather, Fruit Candy, Dried Fruit, Pepper and Mint.


The Oak makes itself noticeable and shows the age of the Malt. It brings a little Bitterness and Wood Spices that help offset the otherwise mainly Sweet Palate. A few Sour notes can be found as well. It's not a perfect Single Malt but it offers much more character than most of today's Modern Mainstream Barley Juice.

Main Flavours:

Thick Sweet Barley, Ripe Apple and Pear, Seville Orange, Lemon, Grass & Hay, Milk-Hazelnut Chocolate, Herbal-Tea, Charred Oak, Cinnamon, Nutmeg and Menthol.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Caramel, Honey, Vanilla, Nectarine, Grapefruit, Buttered Cake, Dried Fruit like Raisins, Sultanas and Apricot, Floral Soap, Pepper, Aniseed and Ginger.   


Middle-Long and quite Sweet. A few Sour notes towards the Medium-Dry end. The Oak is much more noticeable at this point and brings quite some Bitterness and Menthol to the party. I find Malted/Toasted Barley, Vanilla, Honey, Caramel, Milk Chocolate, Sugared Almonds, Pineapple, Mango, Sour Apple, Lemon, Seville Orange, Grapefruit, Marzipan, Charred Oak, Herbal Tea, Leather, Cinnamon, Pepper, Nutmeg, Ginger, Licorice and Menthol.

Drinking Advice:

Added Water does not significantly change the Aroma and Flavour profile but you can certainly play with a little Water in this case.

Rating: 86

Nose: 22 - Taste: 21.5 - Finish: 21 - Overall: 21.5

Drinking Experience Neat: Good


Tormore is a relatively new distillery and was founded in 1958 by Schenley Int. Chivas Brothers (Pernod Ricard) acquired the distillery in 2005 when it took over Allied Domecq. It is located in Grantown-on-Spey (Morayshire). The distillery has a production capacity of 4.8 million litres. Most of it is used in Blends like Ballentine's, Long John, Cream of the Barley and others. The core range merely consists of the 14 and 16 Years.

Antique Lion's of Spirits is a recent collaboration between Lion's Whisky, Whisky Boutique (Italy) and Jens Drewitz from German Indie Bottler Sansibar.

This 28-old Tormore is not a perfect Whisky and I personally think it overstayed its time in the cask somewhat. The Nose fools you in this respect but on the Palate and in the Finish the Wood & Wood Spice speak loudly. It's also a pretty forward Bourbon cask matured Speyside Malt. But it's got character and that counts a lot in my opinion. That alone sets it aside from todays Mainstream Malt. I can't say that older Whiskies are better than recent ones as I have tasted relatively few of the old guys. But they all have more character and are presented as they were made without adding Artificial Colouring, without being Chill-Filtered and without using fancy casks to hide imperfections. This is Whisky as it's supposed to be. Imperfect but flavourful and with its own character. I'll toast to that!


Jan van den Ende                                                                     April 20, 2020


Anonymous said...

Cheers Jan,

nice review and interesting dram. I had only one Tormore until now, a similar nice experience.

Marcus wrote a nice review on that one:

Stay safe and healthy
Best regards

Jan van den Ende said...

Hi Bjorn! Nice to hear from you! Thanks for your kind words as always! I think I've read Marcus' review a couple of years ago. Tormore is an interesting dram indeed, especially the older ones! You stay safe as well! Take Care! Cheers, Jan.