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.
Tobermory gets three bottlings in the Distell exclusive lineup of six whiskies. Two peated expressions (Ledaig), which we’ll be looking at on The Dramble shortly, and an unpeated Fino Sherry Cask Finish that is the focus of today’s review.
The Tobermory Fino Cask was matured from 2005 to 2015 in ex-bourbon casks before being reracked into fino sherry for a two year finishing period. Apparently it’s the first fino matured whisky to be released from Tobermory. It’s bottled naturally coloured, non-chill filtered and at 55.1% ABV with a sticker price of around £100.
Nose: Dry fruitiness to being with - red berries, cocoa powder and salted peanuts. Running throughout, deeper aromas of chocolate sauce, cookie dough, balsamic and salted caramel. Dryness is accompanied by an interesting minerality - Andrews Liver Salts. In the background, earthiness - scorched (but not burnt) soils, and dry dusty wood. The addition of water brings out orchard fruits (apples and pears) along with gentle bakery from tart bases and crumble mix.
Taste: A pleasant mouthfeel arrives with fizzing lemon and lime sherbet. Chocolate, coffee beans and berry-laden Black Forest Gateaux follow. The mid-palate is intensely earthy with mushrooms, truffle and mosses. The back-palate chimes off steeliness with tin cans and wet slate, before returning to overtly cask driven vanilla and sappy oak. Water once again emphasises orchard fruits, adding toffee and ginger, but losing much of the interesting earthiness and minerality that was presented undiluted.
Finish: Fairly short and steely with salted caramel. Water lengthens the experience, but brings with it some bitterness.
Tobermory 2005 Fino Cask Finish offers an interesting juxtaposition of characterful spirit with dry sherry influence. It’s successful for the most part, but doesn’t take well to water which introduces fruitiness but in a highly generic fashion whereby you might confuse this with any run of the mill 12 year old bottling. Take this one at its bottling strength for a much more unique experience. But it’s still pretty expensive for what it is.