Tobermory / Ledaig

 

Distillery photo with kind permission by ScotSites

 

Tobermory distillery is located on the Isle of Mull and was founded in 1797 by John Sinclair who named it "Ledaig".

It was actually founded before the excise act of 1823 which legalised the production of Scotch whisky, but sadly the distillery was closed in 1837.

The distillery was reopened in 1878 and then purchased by John Hopkins & Co. in 1890.

In 1915 John Hopkins & Co. was taken over by DCL (Distillers Company Ltd) who again closed the distillery in 1930.

 
 

The distillery was again reopened in 1972 under the name of Ledaig Distillery Ltd but it only operated for three years as the new owners filed for bankruptcy in 1975.

It was taken over again in 1978, this time by Kirkleavington Property Co. who used the name Tobermory Distillers Ltd, but the distillery was again closed between 1982-9.

Burn Stewart purchased the distillery in 1993 and were themselves taken over by a venture capital company (CL FInancial) in 2002.

 

 
 

Today, the name Tobermory is used for the unpeated distillery bottlings and 'Ledaig' for the distillery's lightly peated ones.

More great distillery information here thanks to Malt Madness.

 

 

 

Tobermory

General whisky characteristics: Fresh, hay, almost minty.

 
   

Tobermory, 10y, 40% ABV

Typical cost of this bottle;

 
 

Glass: Spiegelau

Colour: Rich gold / toffee

Nose: Malt. fresh hay

Palate: Very smooth, delicate grasses building on the palate to include some creamy toffee and very faint hints of nuts and aniseed.

Finish: Medium to long, always smooth and glowing

Overall Impression: A reasonable, fresh, everyday malt with a radiating finish.

 

   
   

Tobermory, 10y, 46.3% ABV

Typical cost of this bottle;

Reviewed as part of MMA 2011

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Bright (9ct) yellow gold

Nose: Initially musty & malty, then expanding to include light leafiness and damp dust with a hint of maracuja.

Palate: Fruity and leafy with hints of toffee and black peppercorn. Some malt comes through too, always with a smooth and creamy mouth-feel.

Finish: Long and tingling right on the front of the palate.

Overall Impression: A definite improvement on the older 40% version. Nice.

 

   
   

Tobermory, 15y, 46.3% ABV

Typical cost of this bottle;

Reviewed as part of MMA 2011

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Rich dark oak - amber

Nose: Ahhh rubber wellies left in an aired hallway. Hints of dark chocolate begin to appear after 3-4 minutes, the cardamom seeds join the rubberiness.

Palate: Very much as per the nose with a light rubberiness, chocolate, almost coffee hints, cardamom seeds, cloves and toasted oak.

Finish: Long with spiced wood.

Overall Impression: Wellies left in a hallway? Don't be put off, this is a good whisky, I really like it.

 

   

 

   

Exclusive Malts, Tobermory, 1995, 15y, 51.5% ABV

Typical cost of this bottle;

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Pale yellow (9ct) gold

Nose: Sweet and aromatic, quite floral with vanilla ice cream and hints of butterscotch. This is also quite fresh with a hint of almost smoky oak.

Palate: Very smooth and creamy mouth-feel followed by vanilla with some light tropical fruits. This is what I would imagine papaya ice cream to taste like.

With 4 drops of water: More oak on the nose, whereas the palate has developed some light black pepper alongside the fruit.

Finish: Very long, a little more pepper appears after the water has been added.

Overall impression: Smooth and creamy - easy drinking, I like it, very much!

 

   
   

Blackadder, Tobermory, 15y, 18.7.1995, April 2011, 46% ABV

Aberdeen Distillers, Cask No.ABD1001, one of 164 bottles

Typical cost of this bottle;

Reviewed as part of MMA 2011

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Vanilla ice cream

Nose: Initially musty, dusty and leafy then after 4-5 minutes definite hints of blige pump and milky baby vomit. This is really quite stale.

Palate: Leafy and really quite dry, although thankfully the baby vomit is restricted to the nose, just lots of leafy hay and really quite penetrating too.

Finish: Medium to long, leafy and dry.

Overall Impression: Stale milky baby vomit? That nose really lets it down.

 

   

 

 

Ledaig

General whisky characteristics: Fresh, salty, lightly peated

 
   

Ledaig, 10y, 43% ABV

Typical cost of this bottle;

 
 

Nose: Very pungent with some slight burn. Is there some mint in there? Maybe a little. There's definitely some sea air to be found and maybe even a little touch of bilge pump direct from the bottom of an old trawler.

Palate: The taste is much gentler than the nose suggested. I would describe this as a maritime as opposed to peaty whisky. It has that touch of sea air, a little salt and it retains a light freshness which is not unpleasant.

Overall impression: A fresh, maritime, smooth whisky which is much better on the palate than the nose. In fact, if you can drink it without inhaling, you will be much better off.

 

   
   

Ledaig, 10y, 46.3% ABV

Typical cost of this bottle;

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Light straw

Nose: Grasses and hay with hints of unwashed socks and slight baby vomit.

Palate: Creamy mouth-feel with light smoke, a little bitterness and fruity coconut.

Finish: Quite long with that smoke and fruit in prominence.

Overall impression: Much has been said about Burn Stewart's move from 43% to 46.3% bottlings and I applaud them for doing so. This 'new' Ledaig is a big improvement over the previous one, although the hints of baby vomit are still evident on the nose, albeit not so formidably as the previous 'bilge pump' offering. Once again the palate is much better than the nose.

 

   
   

Ledaig, 10y, 46.3% ABV

Typical cost of this bottle;

Reviewed as part of MMA 2011

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Pale bronze

Nose: Very Atlantic or coastal with salt, sea-air and a light peatiness. This is joined by a faint rubberiness after 2-3 minutes and then the salt and rubberiness expand further with more time.

Palate: The rubberiness is lightly evident, but much more so the sea-air and peatiness. There#s also a suggestion of cloves and roast beef in the background.

Finish: Long and peaty with raost beef.

Overall impression: Real
ly quite amazing, I like this one.

 

   

 

     

Ledaig, an older one

Sorry for the vagueness, but I was given a sample of this very old Ledaig which I believed was a 40y, but on reflection, it could be the 30y version.

 
 

Glass: My beloved Spiegelau

Colour: Rich dark brown, beautiful.

Nose: Prunes with a slight hint of antiseptic cream and vomit (must be Ledaig!)

Palate: Initially wishy-washy, not what I was expecting. But the flavour kind of grows on the palate over time. It has raisins, cream, just a little peach in there too and thankfully, none of the vomit from the nose.

Overall Impression: Even age can't cover that typical vomit-stained nose, but the taste does grow on the palate and although unusual and slightly weak for the age, it is quite palatable, although I wouldn't rush out to buy a bottle.

 

   
   

Whisky Doris, Ledaig, 2001-2011, 9y, 50.5% ABV

One of 212 bottles

Typical cost of this bottle;

Reviewed as part of MMA 2011

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Light yellow gold

Nose: Starts grassy and leafy whilst slowly developing light fruit and hints of peat smokiness. Then come hints of cloves wrapped in a faint rubberiness which expands further with time in glass.

Palate: Initially peppery light peat with a light rubberiness, but red berries soon appear and then faint coconut leads into the finish.

Finish: Long and lightly peaty.

Overall impression: Another good offering from Whisky Doris.

 

   
   

Malts of Scotland, Ledaig, 3.4.1998-9.2010, 61.8% ABV

Sherry Butt No.800025, bottle No.5 of 256

Typical cost of this bottle;

Reviewed as part of MMA 2011

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Slightly watery rich amber

Nose: Very aromatic Alpine cheese, almost "seaty-sock" parmesan style. Then lightly rubbery with hints of drying paint.

Palate: Everything the nose promised, with a little extra creaminess for mouth-feel.

Finish: Very long, rich and quite intrusive.

Overall impression: A little hint of Alpine cheese is good, but this much?

 

   
   

Ledaig, 15y, 43% ABV

"The Macnab" from 1972

Typical cost of this bottle; Unknown

 
 

Glass: Munich whisky fair own glass

Colour: Bright gold

Nose: Malty with candy floss whilst being fresh and aromatic, but always gentle.

Palate: In contrast to the gentle nose the palate packs more of a punch with an immediate burst of malt with a suggestion of liquorice. This has a texture which I can only describe as tongue-coating. Then comes a very slight bitterness leading into the finish.

Finish: Very long.

Overall impression: A mild nose and a strangely tonge-coating palate? Don't be deceived, this is an excellent whisky. Not quite a "Great", but not far away.

 

   
 

 

Archives, Ledaig, 2004, 61.9% ABV

Typical cost of this bottle;

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Pale straw

Nose: Creamy rubberiness alongside a milky malt drink. The light rubberiness expands with time in the glass.

Palate: Creamy light peat with a suggestion of kiwi fruit.

Finish: Long creamy peatiness with a hint of raspberry right at the end.

Overall Impression: Nice, very nice and not a hint of baby vomit in this Ledaig, just gentle creamy peatiness.

 

   
 

 

Sestante, Ledaig, 14y, 1973-1987, 56.3% ABV

Typical cost of this bottle; Unknown

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Pale yellow gold (actually slightly paler than the picture suggests)

Nose: Quite maritime with a faint suggestion of rubberiness. Quite musty or dusty and leafy. This mellows with some minutes in the glass and develops a fruitiness ... green apple? Is that a hint of white wine too? After more minutes an almost citrus quality develops, on second thoughts perhaps more like lime blossom on a tree as opposed to the fruit itself. Yes, lime blossom.

Palate: Much more smokiness and peatiness than the nose offered. The aftertaste also suggests green fruits and lime blossom. Lovely.

Finish: Very long.

Overall Impression: What a wonderful whisky. "Great"? Very very nearly.

 

   

 

 

 

 

 

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