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.
Tobermory based on the Isle of Mull is one of several distilleries founded in 1798 and was originally founded under the name of Ledaig. Now, the distillery uses the name Tobermory for its unpeated expressions and Ledaig for its heavily peated bottlings. The Tobermory core range is a currently a compact three – 10 year old, 15 year old and 20 year old – though over the past couple of years, a variety of different cask maturations and finishes have been used for a selection of limited edition Tobermory’s.
The entry-level 10 year old was originally bottled at 40% ABV, until owners Burn Stewart (who were bought by Distell in 2013) upped the alcohol content of all their single malts (Tobermory, Bunnahabhain and Deanston) to a more impactful 46.3%. Rumours are abound that the 10 year old is currently on hiatus or limited production until stocks have replenished in a couple of years – indeed, several of the larger retailers are currently showing the bottling as sold out. Nevertheless, you can still find it for sale for between £42-£49 from a variety of online outlets. Though if you’re buying it, just head over to the Tobermory website for the £42 price.
Nose: Malty and mossy. Initially we’re greeted with fresh garden notes – hay, pine and grasses – and also some less fresh, moist vegetal aromas – wet leaves and strong moss. Malts, barley and oats quickly follow. There’s little fruitiness here – only some slight sourness suggested from citrus. After a little time resting in the glass we get some ginger spicing, toffee and also some farmyard.
Taste: Oily and sharply mineral. A decent arrival in terms of mouthfeel brings some much needed sweetness and fruit – ripe apple, orange peels and lemons. Mossy herbalness is still present (strangely sharp and rock like – almost like a Cliffside moss growing on a coastal sea wall) as is the overt maltiness. Now the cask comes more to the fore with ginger and pepper, but also some bitterness. There’s a touch of vanilla and pepper here, and perhaps even a slight hint of smoke – which could be cask char.
Finish: Relatively short and expressing pepper, ginger and malts.
Tobermory 10 year old is a decent enough entry level bottling, though it’s a little eccentric – part sharp and fresh, part malty and oaty and part musty and barnyard. At times it feels like it can’t make up its mind which profile it really wants to head down, and therefore sits a little awkwardly across the all. That said, this does bring with it a level of interest and complexity….which likewise offers characterful changes in both the glass and the bottle over time.