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Tobermory 10 Year Old Single Malt Whisky

Review: Tobermory 10 Year Old Single Malt Whisky    (82/100)
a Review By Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted on January 29, 2017

The Tobermory Distillery was established in 1798 (by the British Fisheries Society) making it one of the oldest commercial distilleries in Scotland. The facility is located on the Isle of Mull, in the area of Ledaig which means ‘safe haven’ in Gaelic. The distillery is unusual in that it produces both peated and unpeated whisky varieties.

The Tobermory 10 Year Old is an unpeated Single Malt which I tasted at an event hosted by Ryan Engen who is the Director of Spirits, for Liquor Stores N.A. Inc. at the Edmonton Wine and Beyond McTagggert Ridge location. At the tasting I enjoyed 7 different Single Malts in what was termed the Beyond Islay Single Malt Whisky Tasting. The Whiskies at the tasting were selected to represent the diversity of Scotland’s Island Whiskies reaching beyond the popular Islay Whiskies to the malts produced on the lesser known Islands. As Indicated the Tobermory is distilled upon the Isle of Mull.

The spirit was matured for 10 years in ex-bourbon casks and bottled at 46.3 % alcohol by volume.

tobermory-10In the Bottle 4.5/5

The Whisky is presented in the medium tall green bottle shown to the left. The year the distillery was established features prominently on the label as well as being embossed in large font on the front of the bottle. The bottle is cork sealed and arrives in the classy cardboard box which duplicates the label on the front as well as features a lightly shaded Isle of Mull (grey on black background).

I like the whisky presentation although perhaps the label is a tad minimalist and lacks ‘pop’.

In the Glass 8.5/10

Although the whisky is not peated, there was nevertheless a light imprint of peat which I noticed as soon as I lifted my glass to my nose. The light peatiness I noticed was enveloped in orange and citrus notes. Herbal impressions of heather and menthol come through, and perhaps there is a clump of willow trees setting in the background. Grassy notes of fresh hay compliment the herbal notes and the nose is rounded out with light vanilla and almond impressions.

Keeping the score down just a tad are a few impressions of astringency which are perhaps a reflection of the high alcohol strength (46.3 %) of the bottling.

In the Mouth 49/60

The impression of oily peat is firmer across the palate than it was on the nose. When I checked the Tobermory website, I was pleased to see that the peatiness I was encountering was not imagined as according to the distillers own tasting notes that peatiness is part of the whiskies taste profile. A light influence of peat within the water used to produce the whisky is the suggested source.

Along with that light peat influence is a bit of fire no doubt caused by that bottling proof. I found my palate heated perhaps a little more firmly than I prefer and would suggest that a well placed cube of ice would not be a bad thing for the whisky. Once I get past the peat and the heat I begin to taste the underlying whisky which has a light push of fine oak spice, flavours of almond, vanilla, citrus zest. Some lightly sweet butterscotch and light winding grass-like menthol lying underneath helping to smooth out the delivery slightly. There is also a taste of applesauce and pear after a little water is introduced.

I found the whisky just a little too fiery to enjoy neat, I would recommend serving over ice.

In the Throat 12/15

The whisky shows its higher alcohol content a little more firmly in the exit than I would prefer. Some menthol flavours in the exit help as does some lightly sweet butterscotch; but as indicated I believe ice is the best remedy for the extra heat.

The Afterburn 8/10

I found the Tobermory 10 Year Old to be a pleasant Single Malt Whisky which has a light peaty quality which makes it a great malt to serve to someone who has never encountered a peated whisky before. I would recommend serving over ice or mixing classic cocktails.

You may read some of my other Whisky Reviews (click the link) if you wish to have some comparative reviews.


Suggested Serving

SAM_1134 Sm CrustaSingle Malt Crusta

2 oz  Tobermory 10 Year Whiskey
1/2 oz Fresh Lemon Juice
3/8 oz Sugar Syrup
1/8 oz Bols Triple Sec
dash Angostura Bitters
Fine sugar
Spiral Orange Peel
Optional splash of Soda or Ginger Beer

Rim a cocktail glass with a wedge of fruit
Powder the rim of the glass with fine sugar
(Try to do better than I did with the sugar rim)
Place a Spiral Orange Peel in the bottom of the glass to form a cup
Place the first 5 ingredients in a metal shaker with ice
Shake until the sides of the shaker frost
Strain onto the spiral lime peel in the cocktail glass
If desired, complete with a splash of Q-Ginger
Add a lump of ice in the center of the lime spiral

Enjoy Responsibly!

Note: If  you are interested in more of my original cocktail recipes, please click this link (Cocktails and Recipes) for more of my mixed drink recipes!


As always you may interpret the scores I provide as follows.

0-25 A spirit with a rating this low would actually kill you.
26-49 Depending upon your fortitude you might actually survive this.
50 -59 You are safe to drink this…but you shouldn’t.
60-69 Substandard swill which you may offer to people you do not want to see again.
70-74 Now we have a fair mixing rum or whisky.  Accept this but make sure it is mixed into a cocktail.
75-79 You may begin to serve this to friends, again probably still cocktail territory.
80-84 We begin to enjoy this spirit neat or on the rocks. (I will still primarily mix cocktails)
85-89 Excellent for sipping or for mixing!
90-94 Definitely a primary sipping spirit, in fact you may want to hoard this for yourself.
95-97.5 The Cream of the Crop
98+ I haven’t met this bottle yet…but I want to.

Very loosely we may put my scores into terms that you may be more familiar with on a Gold, Silver, and  Bronze medal  scale as follows:

70 – 79.5    Bronze Medal (Recommended only as a mixer)
80 – 89.5     Silver Medal (Recommended for sipping and or a high quality mixer)
90 – 95         Gold Medal (Highly recommended for sipping and for sublime cocktails.)
95.5+            Platinum Award (Highest Recommendation)

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