Award-winning Tomatin distillery shows softer side of Highlands

07 December, 2015

Japanese-owned Highlands distillery Tomatin has been named distiller of the year in the Whisky Magazine’s Icons of Whisky 2016 awards, which were held in Edinburgh on Friday.

Nominations and votes for the award come from other members of the industry.

“We are extremely grateful to our industry peers, customers and suppliers who nominated us for this award,” said Robert Anderson, Tomatin’s chief executive.

The award comes as the distillery is repackaging its entire range to express the brand’s new positioning as “the softer side of the highlands”.

Jennifer Masson, Tomatin’s marketing manager, said: “These are incredibly exciting and important times for the Tomatin brand. Over the past few years we have invested a lot of time in rediscovering our distillery, our people and our values.

“We now have a far stronger voice and sense of identity and our rebranded packaging is the final piece of this puzzle in place.

“Having experienced dramatic growth around the world over recent years, it is great to receive recognition of our efforts with awards such as the Distiller of the Year – we as a company are all looking forward to seeing where 2016 and beyond takes this fantastic brand.”

The seven-strong range is available to purchase from March 2016.

Prices begin at £28.99 for the Legacy edition and rise to £500 for the 36 Year Old.

The other expressions currently available are the 12 Year Old, which retails at £39; the Cask Strength at £49; the 14 Year Old at £55; the 18 Year Old at £80; and the 1988 Vintage at £175.

Stirling-based agency Pocket Rocket Creative was commissioned to create the new visual identity, which has a strikingly softer, earthier tone, which reflects the landscapes around the distillery while retaining a contemporary feel.

To support the new brand proposition, the distillery has launched a new Tomatin Life campaign, which celebrates the people and sense place behind the whisky.

Some 80% of the distillery’s employees live on site.

Founded in 1897, Tomatin was at one point the largest distillery in Scotland, with most of its production going to major blended whisky brands such as J&B, Chivas Regal and Johnnie Walker.

However, a collapse in demand for blended whisky forced the distillery into liquidation in 1984.

Two years later, Japanese drinks companies Okura and Takara Shuzo partnered to bring the distillery back to life.

Its whisky is now exported to over 50 countries around the world.

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