Review – Tobermory 42

Tobermory Distillery sits overlooking the harbour as you descend into the town of the same name on the island of Mull. There has been a distillery there since 1798 but has however spent long periods of time non operational and in fact was even a power station for a while.

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In 1993 it was purchased by Burn Stewart Distillers, which itself is now owned by Distell, but not before its warehouses were converted into flats, leaving very little warehousing space on site.

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The distillery produces 1million litres of spirit every year and the spirit run is split into a peated run and a non-peated run for the two expressions that are produced there, Tobermory (unpeated) and Ledaig (peated)

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Generally speaking I’m not a huge fan of Tobermory 10, it is very much middle of the road stuff for me, although I do recall being quite impressed by the 15 y.o I tried on the tour. I do prefer The Ledaig in general if I had to choose between the two.

I toured this distillery in 2015 and all the pictures in this article were taken whilst I was there.

This particular expression contains some of the spirit that was produced when Tobermory Distillery reopened in 1972 and is limited to just 650 bottles. The price tag however is a hefty £2,250.

I would love to say I just happened to have a bottle of this lying around waiting to be opened but if it wasn’t for an extremely generous gift of a sample from a friend I would never have experienced a dram of this magnitude.

Tobermory 42, OB, 47.7%abv, from my sample swap collection, (available here)

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The nose is beguiling. Buttered gingerbread, soft spices, leather and that slight dusty feeling that comes with good age. Gentle tobacco notes and the slightest wisp of creamy chocolate, perhaps a mocha.

The palate is initially quite nutty. Dry yet soft spices emerge along with dark fruits, a tinge of slated caramel, some soft coffee and a lightly charred vanilla. So soft and subtle, age has been kind and tempered the spirit well. At 47.7% the alcohol feels barely there, driving the flavours but never taking over.

The finish has the tiniest wisp of smoke and is for the first time I notice a slight pepperiness. The spices fade and linger deliciously for quite some time.

I thought I may have noticed just the slightest coastal note, a little touch of salted chocolate at the end but perhaps that’s just my mental image of the distillery overlooking the bay talking a little too loudly over my palate…

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