Tobermory

Review: Black Bottle Blended Scotch Whisky by Jason Hambrey

Black Bottle 1.jpg
ABV
40%
Aging
N/A
Recipe
Scottish Malt and Grain Whiskies
Distiller Multiple (Scotland)

This whisky used to be quite a smoky blend, but in 2013 Burn Stewart reverted to a slightly older style with less smoke and more richness. After blending the whiskies, they recask into new virgin oak. Components include tobermory, ledaig, bunnahabhain, and deanston. By the way, Distell (who own all of those distilleries) do a terrific job - they are generally transparent about what is going into the whiskies, and, so it would appear, they value their connoisseur consumers - rare, these days.


Review (2018)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: P037414 L3 09:04 16039

  • Bottling Date: ~2017

The nose is a mix of light fruit, heavy dried fruit notes, nuts, and smoke: apple, hard pear, prune, raisins, roasted almond, wood charcoal, clove, black pepper, and banana bread. The palate continues from the nose – golden syrup, malt loaf, light orchard fruit, dried apricot, charred new oak, a peppery sulphur-y spiciness, light smoke, and some more hard, green pear. The finish is lightly smoky, with dried fruits (apricot and raisin), nutmeg, and a bit more charred oak. Lightly tannic, too.

Hard to do better than this in Scotch at this price.

Recommended (81% of whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: High, at $30. It might be the best bottle of Scotch in Canada under $40.


Review: Ledaig 21 Year Old 1992 Single Malt Scotch Whisky (WM Cadenhead Small Batch) by Jason Hambrey

ABV
53.6%
Aging
21 Years
Recipe
100% Malted Barley
Distiller Tobermory (Tobermory, Scotland)

An independent bottling of a small batch of 21 year old Ledaig barrels by Cadenhead, distilled in 1992.


Review (2016)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Date: N/A

  • Bottling Code: 2013

Lots of oak here! Also coconut and vanilla, and light corn husks (what? A bourbon cask?). And some very interesting, creamy, tropical fruit – mangosteen and guanabana. Quite bright. A bit farmyard-y as it sits out. Nutty, dense, and oaky. Light licorice as well. If you take careful time with this – you find a good bit of complexity, especially as wisps of smoke weave their way in and out.

The palate is full of malt, light vegetal notes (fennel frongs, celery leaf), with a good dose of fresh oak in the mix as well. The tropical notes continue on as well. Not a whole lot of peat or smoke to be found when it is watered down, if not for a touch of ash on the creamy, tropical finish. At full strength, the vegetal, sooty, peat comes through toward the end – it is, in fact, a source of great intrique and complexity. I love the subtle, creamy, tropical notes.

The finish has oak, vanilla, and holds lots of oaky spices. And a touch of sooty peat. The tropical nature continues. And some wood tannins. At first, I thought this lacked good integration and complexity – but as I have taken more time with it my opinion has changed, although it is still quite subtle.

Recommended (81% of whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: Low, based on $168.


Review: Ledaig 10 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky by Jason Hambrey

ABV
46.3%
Aging
10 Years
Recipe
100% Malted Barley
Distiller Tobermory (Tobermory, Scotland)

Ledaig whiskies are the brand of peated whiskies produced by Tobermory - a full 50% of Tobermory's production goes towards Ledaig. It was first introduced in 1996, and it is made from malt peated to 35-40 ppm at Port Ellen maltings. Ledaig translates to "Safe Haven".


Review (2016)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: ~2015

Huge smoky nose, with some green cardamom and anise seed mixed in. BBQ chips. This malt is known for being a bit farmyard-y – indeed it is! A good bit of mineral character to it as well. Great peat. Slightly dry, and rich as well. A light sweetness comes through as well – a terrific, smoky malt nose. And some maritime characteristics as well. Seashells. Quite savory.

The palate is rich, with lots of sharp, mineral peat and underlying sweetness. Terrific. Layers of smoke, charred/smoky BBQ aromas, soot, vanilla, green fennel, and a touch of caraway.

Earthy peat on the finish, still with a fair bit of herbal and herbal spice (i.e. fennel seed, celery seed) type flavours. Very nice, and a big, bold finish. I like it a lot more than the unpeated Tobermory.

Highly Recommended (48% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: High at $68. But not high value if you don’t like peat!


Review: Tobermory 10 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky by Jason Hambrey

ABV
46.3%
Aging
10 Years
Recipe
100% Malted Barley
Distiller Tobermory (Tobermory, Scotland)

Tobermory is on the Isle of Mull -  quite a gorgeous island. It is one of the oldest surviving whisky making distilleries, dating back to 1798. However, distillery has been silent for more than half of its existence – from 1837 to 1878, and then from 1930 to 1972 and 1989 to 1993. Burn Stewart bought it in 1993 and have worked to greatly improve the single malt.


Review (2016)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: ~2015

Some nuttiness, and dank spices and fruit. Lots of star anise, stewed tomatoes, brazil nuts, green fennel (the vegetable, not the seed) and woodiness – though it doesn’t seem directly oaky to me, more of a mixed twig sort of wood. I am not in love with the heavy licorice…it would likely appeal more to those who like this style. In some areas of the world, candy coated anise seed is quite popular – this reminds me of that – not to say it is overly candied, but the sweetness with the anise gives a bit of this sensation. Sticky toffee pudding. Very light farmy aromas. Sage. Dried ginger. On the palate, malt seems to come to the fore in a way that it was not present on the nose, and the 46% really shows off its benefit here. It is still quite vegetal – and herbal – with green fennel still having a good bit of presence. The light grassy spiciness that is present is quite nice – my favorite part of the malt. The finish is slightly spicy in feel, with some fennel, light oak, and celery leaf. Maltiness comes through on the end quite nicely. Tarragon. If I liked licorice laden malts, this mark would be higher – but it’s not my style.

Value: Average, at $67.