Ah, Tobermory. I have a weird relationship with that distillery. When I went to my first whisky tasting ever, in Den Bosch at Barrique, there was one which I thought absolutely sublime.
I only ended up not buying it since there also was a cask strength Bowmore available that just had to come home. Mostly because the 60% abv. That how I rolled back then.
This turned out to be a bad investment. Mostly because Barrique works with single barrels and you can buy per centiliter in the shop. Their corks are shite so within a week my Bowmore tasted like wet wallpaper.
Anyway, Tobermory. After tasting a terrific one there I bought their old 10 year old. I guess that was about a decade ago. That was a terrible dram. Barely any flavour, very watery. I gave the bottle away after a few glasses. Then, some years later, this 15 year old came out, in a kick-ass box, all fancy looking. I wanted it before I even tasted it. That’s how I rolled about 6 years ago. At least, partially.
I hear they are regularly pretty good nowadays, and I read several enthusiastic reports on single casks from indie bottlers. This one is from themselves, and if this is a benchmark, they’ve picked up a notch or two.
Big and rich sherry, right from the get-go. Heaps of raisins and dried peaches. A hint of black pepper and sweet malt in the background. Also, if you’re familiar with sherry, oloroso to be more specific, you get slight yeasty, sour note too.
The palate also has the crushed black pepper, but a little bit more so than the nose. There’s barley here too, and the sweetness of the sherry is incredibly rich. Raisins, with a slight bitterness of the stems added. Some oak. All in all, where the nose leaned very heavily on the sherry this goes more towards whisky.
The finish is largely consistent with the palate. The bitterness is bigger, but never surpasses the sweetness of the dried fruits and sherry. It’s really big on sherry, fruit and quite oaky at this point too.
While this one is huge on the sherry, it’s not overpowering at any point. It’s also not sherry with increased ABV, which does happen sometimes with these big, rich drams. This is just a lovely whisky with great fruity influences.
Highly recommended, although I don’t really get the marketing blurb on maturing on the mainland and then back to Mull and so on. I would have to try a separate one that wasn’t matured on the mainland, and a third one that was matured fully on Mull. (That’s a hint, Tobermory!)
Tobermory 15, 46.3%, Gonzalez Byass Oloroso Casks, Limited Edition from 2008. Still pretty easy to get at some € 85