Distillery Bottlings

Posted 28 June 2018

Tobermory have never really subscribed to the NAS movement, preferring a combination of age statements and/or vintages for their whiskies. Their heavily peated whisky - Ledaig - reintroduced by the then owners Burn Stewart carried its most recent NAS badge way back in 2005. But, since then the brand has certainly gained traction, momentum and a steadily building number of fans. It’s not a whisky that everyone gets along with – indeed, it’s highly idiosyncratic – mixing up the aromas and flavours of BBQ meats, burnt rubber and sweet fruits. This doesn’t sound like it should work – but more often than not it does. Whilst whisky enthusiasts are currently spoilt for choice, there’s an abundance of very similar profiles out there - if you’re looking for something unique, look no further than Ledaig.

Posted 02 January 2018

After a short break over the Christmas period, The Dramble is back in action for 2018. We’ve got a lot planned for our second year – new site features, new resources and of course, our daily tasting notes. So, let’s get straight to it with our first note of 2018 – Tobermory 10 year old.

Posted 29 April 2019

Tobermory’s two year upgrade has not prevented owners Distell from shrewdly keeping interest in the distillery ticking over. Despite production ceasing in March 2017 for a substantial site upgrade (replacement of stills and significant work on the visitor centre), a selection of special edition releases for both the unpeated Tobermory and peated Ledaig whisky lines have kept enthusiasts engaged whilst the distillery’s core bottlings have remained in good supply. Now, with works completed and Tobermory back in the distilling saddle, a new 12 year old expression has been unveiled to mark the occasion.

Posted 23 July 2018

Depending on where you look you’ll find a variety of definitions for types of sherry – from the simplistic – just sweet or dry, though to gradations which include grape varietals, aging regimes (biological or oxidative) and sweetness levels. It’s a complicated category with just as many myths as facts. Today we’re looking at one of the more unusual types – Palo Cortado. Palo Cortado is a hybrid sherry – in effect a halfway house between amontillado and oloroso, possessing the nutty nose of the former with the rich body of the latter. Traditionally, it would have been created through happenstance – with a biologically aged sherry losing its layer of protective flor and then continuing its development oxidatively.

Posted 08 October 2018

Distell’s range of 2018 limited edition whiskies are coming to the market in somewhat of a drip feed - no bad thing, it’s allows the company to focus its attention on promoting each of its distillery’s and brands in turn. We’ve already covered the Deanston Brandy Cask, so now it’s the turn of Mull-based Tobermory who’s 1st entry in the series has recently been released.

Posted 29 January 2019

Before the nosing and the tasting, observing the colour of the whisky can sometimes provide hints as to its characteristics and maturation. But, whilst the hue of the liquid plays a significant part in the overall appeal of whisky, its often at this visual observation stage that our inbuilt presuppositions start to kick in. Darker whisky, being rich and sherried. Lighter whisky being light and less flavoursome. Neither of these two statements are necessarily true, and to my mind it’s a mistake to overly focus on the lustre of a particular whisky – like so many things, it is not a marker for inherent quality. But, there is one type of cask maturation which can result in an particularly vibrant hue – the pink of port casks.

Posted 10 September 2018

I view Ledaig a little like a rite of passage for whisky enthusiasts – it’s something to build up to – often having already sampled (and enjoyed) a variety of other peated drams. Ledaig is about as far from a starter whisky as you can get - it possesses a highly idiosyncratic character and flavour profile that I can fully understand some folks never quite understanding. But, there’s an uncanny number of die-hard malt heads who’ve graduated from the heathery peat of the mainland and iodine-licked smoke of Islay and then gravitate towards Tobermory’s heavily peated Ledaig – me included.

Posted 10 October 2018

Of all the distillates I’ve tasted, I find the appeal of Ledaig the hardest to communicate. To a non-whisky drinker (and even to some die-hard enthusiasts), the idea that a beverage can smell and taste of burnt rubber, cheese or fruity meats and yet still be deemed as tasty seems fairly alien.

Posted 28 June 2019

Last year’s Limited Release Tobermory was a 12 year old Fino finish, this time around, Distell are upping the maturation and taking us over to Sicily for a marsala finish. Marsala is a fortified wine made in the region of the same name, it’s produced from white grapes and is classified in three ways – by sweetness, colour and age. 

Posted 28 June 2019

This year’s Limited Release Ledaig is once again sherry finished, but rather than the PX and oloroso of 2018, this time around we have manzanilla. Manzanilla sherry is very similar to fino in that they are made the same way. Both are ‘flor’ sherries, where a thin layer of yeast (Saccharomyces – an abundant airborne yeast strain) forms on top of the sherry wine in the ‘head room’ of the barrel. The flor layer encases the liquid protecting it from oxidisation. Fino and manzanilla are both biologically aged under this layer of flor, whereas oxidative sherries (such as amontillado, oloroso and PX) may spend some, or even none of their time protected by flor. The manzanilla variety is made around the port of Sanlucar de Barrameda in Cadiz, Spain.

Independent Bottlings


Posted 13 February 2019

Despite the complexity of whisky, the average drinker has a descriptive vocabulary of around 25 words – in baby terms, the language development of an 18-24 month old.  Indeed, looking back some years at my initial reviews for The Dramble, I’m frankly dismayed at my lack of adroitness when it comes to describing both aroma and flavour. Fast-forward to the present, and I like to think that despite frequent reuse of my favourite descriptors, there’s much greater expansiveness and expressiveness when it comes to my whisky vocabulary. All entirely individual, but broader, more articulate and importantly, built on a bedrock of constant daily repetition. And then a whisky comes along that challenges this – and I sit, solemnly trying to find the right words.


Posted 18 September 2020

The versatility of whisky never ceases to amaze me. Significant and perceptible variances in profile and character manifest themselves not just between different distilleries – who don’t forget, largely make spirit using the same core processes - but also between the output of different seasons, years and even down to the level of the divergences that are possible between individual casks. Two identical woods filled with the same run of the same spirit on the same day – stored side-by-side for a decade and still tasting remarkably dissimilar. Mind blown. The changeability of whisky is a truly remarkable thing. And as much as I like to contrast spirits to what I perceive as their core representation – their natural zenith – I still always crave a little wonderment in my whisky.


Posted 15 November 2018

Never one to pass up the opportunity to review a Ledaig (it’s a firm Dramble favourite). This one has spent 10 years in a refill hogshead before being bottled at 54.3% ABV. 304 bottles were produced at £67.99 – this is showing as sold out on the Claxton’s website – but the company sells to a bunch of worldwide retailers so you might well be able to pick it up elsewhere.


Posted 23 April 2021

Whisky Sponge’s 24th Edition sees an enormous, prehistoric sea monster Spongezilla laying waste to Tobermory – which is a shame, as it’s really a rather lovely place and I was planning on heading over there in the not-too-distant future. It will come as little surprise to many of you that of all the Sponge’s released to date – this Ledaig had me over on the Decadent Drinks website promptly. This nuclear radiation powered release has been matured in a refill sherry butt and is bottled at 53% ABV - which it is suggested is because everyone is “...a big bunch of jessies who can't handle cask strength whisky...”, but in reality, is in fact because Angus knows the merits of canny alcoholic strength selection.

Posted 21 January 2022

Deliberately crap labelling and a peated effort from Mull’s Tobermory that has been matured for 13 years in a refill hogshead. Bottled at 57.1% ABV you’ll still find this available over at Master of Malt for £98.95.

Posted 11 October 2022

Long sold out – but with only 62 bottles produced in total, there wasn’t really much to go around of this Ledaig in the first place. Distilled in 2001 and then matured in a refill sherry hogshead for 20 years – we’re looking at one of those ‘quiet’ maturations given the formidable disgorged strength of 64.4%.

Elixir Distillers

Posted 01 October 2018

2018 marked the 10th anniversary of the London Whisky Show – a highlight on the calendar of many whisky enthusiasts, the event draws a growing crowd from across the word. This year’s event was held under the banner of ‘The Future of Whisky’ – a rather broad and nascent theme, but, one which organisers The Whisky Exchange ably managed to embed and emphasise across many of the talks, side events and exhibition stands throughout the weekend. Whilst I remain entirely unconvinced by either the present, or the future of non-alcoholic whisky, this years’ themed show bottlings impressed me on several levels.


Posted 11 February 2022

I find few things in life more tedious than yet another article seeking to dissect and rationalise review scores – particularly those coming at the topic with the pre-programmed agenda of “our method is the bestest because…”. Irrespective of whether whisky, wine, restaurants or movies, all reviewer scores possess three characteristics – they’re arbitrary, they’re largely incomparable outside of their given context, and they’re usually utterly meaningless without explanation.


Posted 10 May 2019

Ledaig is something of a rite of passage for whisky enthusiasts. Its innate spirit character is rarely far from what you’d consider as accessible – or sometimes even normal. To a non-whisky lover, tasting notes of burnt rubber, farmyards, cheese and fruity meats often raise more than an eyebrow. It’s not a bottle I’d ever reach for as an introduction. But, it you are a devotee of Tobermory’s gloriously perverse and idiosyncratic peated spirit, you owe it to yourself to seek out at least one example from what many have considered to be the spirit’s zenith – the early 1970’s.

Murray McDavid

Posted 03 April 2020

This Toberymory has spent most of its like in ex-bourbon, before being racked into an Allier wine cask for finishing. Don’t be attempting to look up who Allier are and what type of wine they produce – it’s simply a region within France responsible for producing one of the primary sources of oak for barrelling (alongside the better known Limousin and Nevers, Troncais and Vosges. Each of them have different characteristics – and each of them is treated differently depending on the winemakers requirements. Allier is notable for its particularly tight wood grain and its ability to impart spicy oak character into a wine.


Posted 12 February 2018

Originally established in London’s Spitalfield in 2006, Hawksmoor has developed a reputation as one of London’s best steak-houses. Now with four restaurants in the capital and one in Manchester, the chain offers meat and cocktail lovers a best of both worlds with high quality (and sometimes unusual) cuts of beef, and well thought-out unfussy cocktails. In each venue as well as cocktails, a selection of real ales and a surprisingly deep wine list, you’ll also find a fair number of whiskies from around the world behind the bar. In touch with the current whisky zeitgeist, Hawksmoor have decided to produce their own single cask bottling for their restaurants – this takes the form of the ‘Clerk of the Works’ - an 11 year old Ledaig.

Scotch Malt Whisky Society

Posted 05 April 2018

Over to Mull, and Tobermory distillery for some of their peated whisky – Ledaig. This one has been matured for 9 years in an ex-bourbon hogshead before being transferred in to a customised cask – A charred 1st fill wine barrique fitted with heavily toasted heads. Peated profile.

Posted 05 January 2018

42 is either Tobermory, or Ledaig –  this one is definitely Ledaig. Its spent 8 years in an ex-bourbon hogshead and then was transferred to in to a new oak barrique for a final year of finishing. Peated profile.

Posted 06 July 2018

This oddly named Ledaig (released during a heatwave in the UK) has been matured in a refill ex-bourbon hogshead for 9 years. Peated profile.

Posted 04 April 2019

Blue 42, so either Tobermory or Ledaig. Simple stuff – 10 years in a refill ex-bourbon barrel.

Posted 03 October 2019

Blue 42 so Tobermory, not Ledaig. Drawn from a 1st fill ex-bourbon barrel.

View on SMWS

Posted 09 November 2017

SMWS code 42 is Tobermory, but Tobermory produces both unpeated, and peated spirit in the form of Ledaig. I’m pretty sure this is the former of the two. Distilled on 3rd March, this was matured for 12 years in a refill ex-Bourbon barrel. One of 204 bottles. Oily & Coastal flavour profile.

Posted 31 January 2019

Green label 42’s always get me interested – this one has spent 9 years in ex-bourbon hogshead and then around 3 years in a 2nd fill ex-white wine barrique. It's an exclusive for the monthly bundles. Lightly Peated profile.

Posted 29 November 2018

42 covers two distinct styles – this one definetely seems like it’s Tobermory rather than Ledaig (boo!). It’s been matured since 2005 in a 2nd fill ex-bourbon barrel. Oily & Coastal profile.

Posted 16 April 2021

After a couple of years of limited releases from my favourite SMWS number, members have been treated to a swathe of new peated 42s (remember the number also covers unpeated Tobermory) over the past 12 months. This latest iteration is a 13 year old that’s been matured in a refill ex-bourbon hogshead.

Posted 01 July 2021

Yet more whisky which plays to my typical predilections this month in the form of a 14 year old Ledaig that’s been matured in a refill ex-bourbon barrel.

View on SMWS

Posted 01 September 2022

Pleasing to be back in action in time for a release of peated 42 – though looking back over the month’s I’ve missed, it seems that there’s been a fair number of Ledaig releases from the Society. This one is noted as heavily peated and hails from a refill ex-bourbon hogshead. High hopes here.

Signatory Vintage

Posted 24 October 2017

Tobermory distillery on the Isle of Mull has had a stormy history. Opened in 1798 as both a brewery and distillery (under the original name of Ledaig) the site has had quite a few periods of closure over the past 200 years, most recently in 1982 when several of its buildings were converted into holiday homes. In 1993 The distillery was bought for the seemingly low sum of £800,000 by Burn Stewart Distillers who began the process of turning it all around.

Posted 24 June 2019

Always a go-to head at Dramble HQ, this relatively young Ledaig was matured in a 1st fill ex-bourbon barrel for 8 years before being bottled at 60% ABV. Available from The Whisky Exchange for £59.95.

That Boutique-y Whisky Company

Posted 13 December 2017

We’re at the mid-way point in the Boutique-y Advent Calendar and today’s offering is an 18 year old Ledaig. Bottled at 51.7% and showing off the heavily peated side of Mull-based distillery Tobermory.

The Single Cask

Posted 17 June 2020

Single cask Tobermory bottled by The Single Cask. Laid down in July of 1995, this refill sherry cask (1201) was matured until December 2018 when it was released at 54.2% ABV. You can pick up a bottle from Master of Malt for £147.95.

Whisky Broker

Posted 18 March 2019

There’s little more frustration than inadvertently drowning a particularly lovely whisky with water in the name of experimentation. Whilst some would posit that any addition to a glass is a desecration, when you’re regularly reviewing high strength bottlings, sources of nearby hydration tend to come with the territory. I aim for consistency – never knowingly diluting below 40% ABV, but always attempting to assess what nuances and complexities a few drops (sometimes much more) can tease out of a whisky. Outcomes are invariably varied.

Whisky Exchange

Posted 11 March 2020

This 13 year old Ledaig has spent its life in a single sherry butt (#900174) before being bottled under The Whisky Exchange’s relatively new namesake independent bottling label. The type of butt is unspecified, but it feels to me to be a high quality (still active) oloroso refill rather than a 1st fill. 622 bottles have been produced at 57.4% ABV and are available at a cost of £94.95 each from The Whisky Exchange.



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