Whisky Focus - Tobermory 15 Years Old 101 Whiskies to Try Before You Die

Tobermory 15 Years Old

16th June 2010

Extract From 101 Whiskies to Try Before You Die a whisky book from whisky expert Ian Buxton.

There is something undeniably romantic about the idea of Tobermory distillery. For one thing, itís on an island. And, for another, itís small and has battled for survival against capricious owners - the distillery was founded in 1798 (Barnard says 1823) but 'silent' for long periods in the mid 1800s and 1930s, twice revived during the 1970s, then under threat of property development until it came into the ownership of Burn Stewart in 1993. So it would be nice if it could succeed.

But the kindest thing that one could say about much of the whisky, marketed alternately as Tobermory and Ledaig, is that the quality was variable. Frankly though, to adapt the words of the poem, when it was good it was just about OK, but when it was bad it was horrid. I have had some shockers from this distillery but, at last, thereís some good news.

The whisky coming through now has been distilled by distillers (previous owners were primarily in property development) and under the guidance of the traditionally-minded Ian McMillan, Burn Stewartís Master Blender and something of a zealot, the quality of Tobermory is much improved.

Nowhere is this seen more clearly than in this 15 Years Old expression (itís no coincidence that the distillery changed hands 16 years ago) which is very much Ianís creation. The casks are stored mainly at Bunnahabhain where each year he selects a parcel of the best. These are re-racked in Gonzalez Byass sherry butts and sent back to Mull for a yearís further maturation (there is very limited warehousing there) before it is bottled, non-chill filtered naturally, at 46.3% for loads of creamy mouth feel.

McMillanís marketing colleagues have also raised their game, with a nice bottle, handsome box and an interesting website.

So, there you are - a good news story. Now try some!

Ian Buxton's Tasting Note For Tobermory 15 Year Old

Colour: Rich deep gold.
Nose: Plenty of sherry impact, dark orange marmalade, some suggestion of smoke.
Taste: A medium body. Fruit cake, chocolate, vanilla toffees, light oak, some spice notes.
Finish: Nuts, spice and salt.

A Sample 0f 101 Whiskies

Here are some other sample extracts from 101 Whiskies To Try Before You Die.

101 Whiskies to Try Before You Die is due for release 2nd September 2010 but is available to pre-order from Amazon who are currently offering a 25% discount and Free Delivery.

Visit Amazon.co.uk For More Info/Buy Now

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