The town of Tobermory is the capital of Mull, an isle in the Inner Hebrides, just off Scotland’s west coast. It’s beginnings can be traced back to the British Fisheries Society, who had been seeking locations around western Scotland in which to set up fishing communities. When one of their agent’s visited Mull in 1786, he declared the natural harbour at Tobermory an ideal spot. A fishing port was established in 1788 and it was into this sea-faring community that a young Kelp Merchant named John Sinclair arrived.
In 1798, Sinclair bought 57 acres of land upon which to build a house and a distillery. Since distilling had been banned since 1795, he was at first encouraged to build a brewery instead but stuck with his original plan and was amongst the first distillers to go legit after the 1823 excise act.
Tobermory distillery has had more than it’s fair share of closures, with extended periods of silence from 1837 to 1878 and then again from 1930 to 1972. Further turbulence saw the warehouses sold off in the 80’s and converted into holiday lets while other buildings were even used to store cheese at one point.
Eventually, things began to settle down under the ownership of Burn Stewart who acquired the property and it’s stocks in 1993. Today, two brands of single malt are produced here… the original Tobermory and the heavily peated Ledaig. Today I’m going to be looking at the former… As with all Burn Stewart’s standard expressions, it has been bottled at 46.3% and without the use of Chill Filtration or Caramel Colouring.
The Scores: About the Scoring…
Smell: 17.5 / 20. Malt, Fudge and Honey with Apples, Pears and a subtle hint of the Ocean.
Taste: 18 / 20. Pepper, Fudge, Vanilla, Green Fruits and Sea Salt. Rich with good depth of flavour.
Value for Money: 8 / 10. Usually available around £40 – £45. Perhaps a little higher than some 10 year olds but it is bottled at 46.3%, at natural colour and un-chill-filtered which, for me, justifies paying a little extra.
Overall: 43.5 / 50. A nice 10 year old dram from a small distillery that’s doing good things. Offers an altogether smoother ride than it’s peaty sibling, Ledaig.