First off: Not that we score with this in mind, understand, but I do love the simple and aesthetically pleasing packaging. No need for frills and all that jazz when it comes to young, readily available malts. Old school, clean and classy. But what strikes my eye as pleasing is incidental to what’s in the bottle, right? So let’s move on.
Tobermory is a distillery on the Isle of Mull. You may recall we tried one of their peated expressions (Ledaig 10) just a few days back, so I won’t rehash any of the details here that we already covered there. The distillery produces a rather limited range of products and independent versions are few and far between (at least where I live), so, to date, I have managed to wrap my hands around only four different bottles of Tobermory: two indies and two distillery bottlings. All quite different from one another, I might add, but none especially vibrant in its own right. And yes, this release is one of those that I have tried a few times before. Suffice it to say that sitting down to jot up some notes on the standard 10 year old is a slightly less than thrilling endeavour.
I won’t throw a lot of words at a whisky that I’m really sort of ambivalent towards, so let’s just let the malt speak for itself.
Nose: A youngish ten. Somewhat aggressive. Vaguely peaty. Even a little feinty. Lemon. Pepper. There’s hints of Jura here and even a banana-like note that reminds a little of young Bunnahabhain. Some very under ripe cranberry and crunchy apple with a dusting of cinnamon. Wood shavings, a barley mill and just a hint of ash and dirt. This is supposed to be the unpeated malt from this distillery? Hmmm, sorry…not quite.
Palate: Wow. Like a mouthful of white flour and raw grains. Pastry dough. More apples and a hint of ginger. Honey. Almost tastes like a young virgin oak malt. Not a lot in the way of fruit. More woods and cereals. Even some grassy notes. Or maybe damp green tea leaves. A rather fun palate in some ways, and a little bit of a departure from the nose. Interesting, if a little unbalanced.
Thoughts: Not bad, but not a very subtle malt either. Could stand to benefit from either longer maturation or better wood choice, I think.
– Reviewed by: Curt
– Photo: Curt
Not bad? 79? Your review makes me think of a 70 level malt…
Agree with David, def a low 70’s expression.
The last statement says it all:
“Could stand to benefit from either longer maturation or better wood choice”
Fair enough, but it’s not bad whisky. I did some checking around to see what others thought after I’d read these comments. I see I am in the range of a couple others too: Serge (81/100), MAO (78/100), Ruben (80/100). Not that that actually means anything, but tells me I’m not completely out to lunch here (just halfway out to lunch).
Very informative review, I was actually eyeing this from a distance. But now, not so sure… After what Burn Stewart did for Bunnahabhain, one might have expected a bit more from the other members of their family.
Sort of agree, but I imagine base spirit might have something to do with that. Seems Bunna is just a better ‘make’ than Deanston or Tobermory.
Thanks to my mate, Lance (The Lone Caner) for picking up on my lack of proofreading and fast fingers. Of course I wasn’t getting notes of ‘would shavings’ nor ‘white fluor’. Cheers! Apologies to all who had to read my mess earlier.
I was being polite….but I wonder what fluor tastes like…fluoride?
I’ve passed on this and Ledaig for years as the reviews have been very mediocre, but their prices has been higher than the good 10-14 YO’s of many other distillers. Guess I’ll keep walking by. In fact, I’ve been whittling down my cabinet to try and get down to 2-3 bourbons and 7-8 Scotches, not counting duplicates or special ones I’ve set back for later. That might make a good survey topic. “If you only had 10 different whiskies, what would they be?”
A’Bunadh (batch 33 or 44)
Bladnoch 10 or 11YO sherry cask at 55%
Caol Ila CS
Lagavulin 12 YO CS
Amrut Peated and unpeated CS
George T Stagg, preferably 2010
Forty Creek Heart of Gold
Alberta Premium 30 YO
Here I am saying I’m cutting back on bottles and I make the mistake of walking into a liquor store. Didn’t see anything interesting, so I start walking out and notice single bottles of Elijah Craig Batch 8 (69.9 ABV; $42) and Ardbeg Perpetuum ($74). Last bottles they had of both, so being a good person, I had to give them a new home. Damn the budget! Anyone try either yet? Time to break out a cigar and a glass!
That’s just blatant bragging…. and cruel to those of us living in Toronto.
Jeff, do either of those have an age statement? Just asking.
Elijah Craig is 12 YO. Perpetuum must be infinitely old, if the name is any indication. Oh, I forgot NAS was banned by you guys. I’ll try not to enjoy when I pop this puppy later today. You can try the EJBP though. And they have been really good so far (even better than the WT Rare Breed).
Wait! I just realized the Perpetuum has an age statement on the bottle of 1815-2015, so this is 200 YO Scotch! For $74!!!
It’s all been called what it is before, and not by me: willful ignorance.
Hey! I ain’t no igloo-a-moose! That’s a kind of elk that lives near the North Pole!. You Canuckians should knows that!
Meanwhile, I took a taste of my 200 YO Ardbeg, and I must say it tastes like Ardbeg aged for 200 years. Charcoaled wood and ashes. With water a little citrus comes out, along with less charcoaled wood and ashes. This baby needs to sit for a while. More like a Laproaig Triple Wood with hints of Ardbeg Ten and some SN2014 thrown in.
ECSB #8 was like a cross of WT101 and Old Forester Birthday Bourbon. Very spirity with more acetone on the nose and palate than I like. Mellowed some with water, but not nearly as good as Batch 6. However, still good for the price. I can always use ice anyway with a 69.9 ABV whiskey.
How would you know, or ever know, what a 200-year-old whisky tastes like without an age statement? As with Blue Label and lot of other NAS-propaganda bottles, people will, on the one hand, say that age doesn’t matter and then, incredibly enough, in the next breath start inventing the very age information that they “don’t care about”.
As for the intelligence of Canadians vs. Americans, this might not be the ground on which you want to fight that battle.
I think Robert was using irony.
Oh so am I, but the ironic part of what I’m saying happens to be true.