Tobermory

Tobermory is the only distillery on the Scottish Ilse of Mull and is located in the middle of the eponymous capital of Mull. Tobermory is one of the oldest active distilleries in Scotland.

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Information about the Distillery
547 Bottles
Scotland, Islands
-6.069760 56.620768
Active
Distell International Limited
2 x 18,000 l
Hoch
2 x 16,000 l
Normal
4 x 23,000 l
5 t
1798
1,000,000 l
https://tobermorydistillery.com/
Average tasting notes Tasting notes
i
Nosing
Peat Smoke:
Peat Smoke:
Sweet:
Sweet:
Fruit:
Fruit:
Maritime Notes:
Maritime Notes:
Zitrus:
Seaweed:
Spices:
Seaweed:
Zitrus:
Spices:
Herbs:
Sherry:
Vanilla:
Malt:
Vanilla:
Malt:
Herbs:
Caramel:
Caramel:
Oak:
Oak:
Sherry:
Lemon:
Lemon:
Berries:
Berries:
Salt:
Salt:
Herb:
Floral:
Herb:
Floral:
Heather:
Heather:
Bonfire Smoke:
Honey:
Honey:
Bonfire Smoke:
Grape:
Grape:
Ham:
Chocolate:
Chocolate:
Ham:
Medicinal Smoke:
Medicinal Smoke:
Leather:
Leather:
Nuts:
Apple:
Pepper:
Apple:
Pepper:
Dried Fruit:
Dried Fruit:
Date:
Date:
Orange:
Orange:
Pear:
Pear:
Alcohol:
Alcohol:
Lemon Peel:
Barley:
Lemon Peel:
Barley:
Dark Chocolate:
Dark Chocolate:
Ginger:
Ginger:
Hay:
Hay:
Grass:
Grass:
Oil:
Oil:
Raisin:
Iodine:
Iodine:
Raisin:
Fig:
Nuts:
Coffee:
Coffee:
Fig:
Chili:
Chili:
Mint:
Mint:
Nutmeg:
Nutmeg:
Tobacco:
Tobacco:
Cherry:
Clove:
Cake:
Clove:
Plum:
Plum:
Cherry:
Cake:
Green Apple:
Wheat:
Green Apple:
Wheat:
Strawberry:
Strawberry:
Banana:
Banana:
Pineapple:
Pineapple:
Cinnamon:
Peach:
Peach:
Cinnamon:
Blackberry:
Anis:
Blackberry:
Tropical Fruit:
Melon:
Grapefruit:
Melon:
Tropical Fruit:
Grapefruit:
Lime:
Black Currant:
Hazelnut:
Hazelnut:
Lime:
Black Currant:
Almonds:
Almonds:
Coconut:
Coconut:
Rye:
Rye:
Walnut:
Walnut:
Tasting
Peat Smoke:
Sweet:
Peat Smoke:
Sweet:
Spices:
Fruit:
Spices:
Oak:
Oak:
Fruit:
Maritime Notes:
Maritime Notes:
Malt:
Malt:
Zitrus:
Pepper:
Pepper:
Zitrus:
Vanilla:
Seaweed:
Vanilla:
Seaweed:
Caramel:
Caramel:
Sherry:
Herbs:
Nuts:
Herbs:
Herb:
Herb:
Sherry:
Salt:
Salt:
Oil:
Oil:
Heather:
Berries:
Berries:
Heather:
Chocolate:
Chocolate:
Bonfire Smoke:
Bonfire Smoke:
Orange:
Lemon:
Chili:
Chili:
Lemon:
Orange:
Honey:
Honey:
Dark Chocolate:
Dark Chocolate:
Floral:
Floral:
Coffee:
Coffee:
Clove:
Nuts:
Clove:
Alcohol:
Alcohol:
Ginger:
Ham:
Ginger:
Grape:
Ham:
Grape:
Dried Fruit:
Cinnamon:
Dried Fruit:
Cinnamon:
Medicinal Smoke:
Medicinal Smoke:
Pear:
Pear:
Anis:
Raisin:
Apple:
Raisin:
Apple:
Leather:
Leather:
Banana:
Banana:
Pineapple:
Pineapple:
Peach:
Peach:
Mint:
Mint:
Lime:
Tobacco:
Tropical Fruit:
Grapefruit:
Tobacco:
Tropical Fruit:
Lime:
Grapefruit:
Lemon Peel:
Lemon Peel:
Hay:
Almonds:
Barley:
Hay:
Barley:
Almonds:
Strawberry:
Strawberry:
Iodine:
Iodine:
Grass:
Grass:
Blackberry:
Blackberry:
Cherry:
Cherry:
Nutmeg:
Green Apple:
Nutmeg:
Green Apple:
Date:
Plum:
Hazelnut:
Plum:
Hazelnut:
Date:
Melon:
Melon:
Cake:
Cake:
Red Currant:
Fig:
Fig:
Red Currant:
Walnut:
Wheat:
Walnut:
Wheat:
Black Currant:
Black Currant:
Kiwi:
Kiwi:
Coconut:
Coconut:
Finish
Peat Smoke:
Peat Smoke:
Spices:
Sweet:
Sweet:
Spices:
Oak:
Oak:
Fruit:
Maritime Notes:
Maritime Notes:
Pepper:
Pepper:
Seaweed:
Seaweed:
Fruit:
Malt:
Malt:
Herb:
Herb:
Zitrus:
Herbs:
Sherry:
Zitrus:
Herbs:
Chili:
Chili:
Sherry:
Vanilla:
Vanilla:
Salt:
Salt:
Nuts:
Heather:
Chocolate:
Chocolate:
Heather:
Berries:
Berries:
Dark Chocolate:
Dark Chocolate:
Oil:
Oil:
Coffee:
Coffee:
Caramel:
Caramel:
Bonfire Smoke:
Bonfire Smoke:
Ginger:
Ginger:
Alcohol:
Alcohol:
Medicinal Smoke:
Medicinal Smoke:
Leather:
Leather:
Honey:
Honey:
Cinnamon:
Cinnamon:
Nuts:
Lemon:
Tobacco:
Tobacco:
Lemon:
Mint:
Mint:
Floral:
Floral:
Dried Fruit:
Almonds:
Orange:
Dried Fruit:
Orange:
Grape:
Grape:
Clove:
Almonds:
Clove:
Cherry:
Ham:
Tropical Fruit:
Apple:
Ham:
Cherry:
Tropical Fruit:
Apple:
Iodine:
Iodine:
Anis:
Nutmeg:
Nutmeg:
Grass:
Grass:
Plum:
Plum:
Pear:
Pear:
Pineapple:
Cake:
Peach:
Lemon Peel:
Lemon Peel:
Peach:
Pineapple:
Cake:
Grapefruit:
Blackberry:
Raisin:
Blackberry:
Raisin:
Grapefruit:
Strawberry:
Hazelnut:
Hazelnut:
Strawberry:
Hay:
Barley:
Wheat:
Barley:
Hay:
Wheat:
Red Currant:
Banana:
Date:
Date:
Banana:
Green Apple:
Red Currant:
Green Apple:
Details about the Distillery

The Whisky

Two different lines of Whisky are produced at Tobermory: on the one hand Tobermory Whisky with just a hint of smokiness, on the other hand the peated Ledaig Whisky. For the Tobermory, the unpeated malt variety 'optic Concerto' with less than 2ppm phenolic content is used, while the Ledaig is made from the peated 'optic Concerto' barley with 30-40ppm phenolic content. A very strongly peated version was also offered in the past in small quantities under the Iona label.

The standard bottlings of the two labels are the 12 year old Tobermory and the 10 year old Ledaig, but older single malts are also available as original bottlings of both, such as a Tobermory 21 year old or a Ledaig 18 year old.

Tobermory 12 years old is an intense and aromatic Single Malt with a fruity and floral character, spicy notes such as ginger and aniseed, slightly nutty aromas and a medium-long finish. It is non chill filtered and without artificial colouring.
Ledaig 10 years old combines peat smoke with malty aromas, citrus fruits, pepper and maritime notes. Its character is reminiscent of an Islay Malt. It is also non chill filtered and without artificial colouring.
Beside these original bottlings from Burn Stewart Distillers, which was bought by the South African Distell Group in 2013, there are a lot of independent bottlings of Tobermory and Ledaig on the market.

The Gin

Produced since 2019, Tobermory Gin has a splash of Whisky new make spirit added even before maceration to give it its unique slightly malty character. It contains hand-selected botanicals such as juniper, tea, heather, elderflower and sweet orange peel. The herbs are steeped in the 65% alcohol base spirit for at least 24 hours.

Tobermory's first limited edition Gin is Mountain Gin. It contains rowan berries, tea and wild heather, which gives the island of Mull a beautiful purple colour during the summer months. The Mountain Gin, inspired by the mountainous landscape of Mull, also contains Whisky new make spirit, as do all Tobermory Gins.

Another member of the Tobermory Gin range is the Hebridean Coast Gin, for which the picturesque and wild coastlines of the Isle of Mull were the inspiration. Botanicals such as lovage, sugar kelp (an edible type of brown seaweed), lavender and sea fennel give the Gin a sweet yet salty flavour.

The inspiration from the Isle of Mull is also reflected in the bottle design. While the first Hebridean Gin features the colourful houses of the island on the inside of the label, the Mountain Gin shows a mountainous landscape coloured purple by the blooming heather and the Coast Gin correspondingly presents a coastal landscape.

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The History

Having been established in 1798, Tobermory is one of the oldest distilleries in Scotland. Back then, John Sinclair named his distillery 'Ledaig', which is Gaelic for 'safe haven'. The small town that Sinclair had chosen for his distillery was a small fishing harbour in a quiet bay – a veritable 'safe haven'.
The distillery had ups and downs over the course of history. It was mothballed, reopened and sold again and again. The last long production halt lasted from 1930 until 1972. After thorough renovations the newly founded Ledaig Distillery Ltd. reopened the distillery. However, three years later it went bankrupt. But this time production wasn't halted for long, and in 1979 Tobermory Distillers Ltd., which was founded by the buyers, Kirkleavington Property, resumed production. But again, they couldn't last longer than three years.
When Burn Stewart Distillers, who also own Bunnahabhain and Deanston, took over Tobermory in 1993, a more stable era seemed to have begun. But the only constant thing in life is change, and Burn Stewart was bought by CL Financial for 50 million pounds in 2002.
The subsequent years were successful, and when Burn Stewart were again sold (this time to the South African Distell Group Ltd.), their value had already increased to 160 million pounds.

Production

Since the new South African owners took over, the annual production has been set to 850,000 litres of alcohol, which is split evenly between Tobermory and Ledaig. Tobermory doesn't operate at full capacity, which would be 1 million litres per year. 

Switching between the two recipes is not so easy, as the pots have to be thoroughly cleaned first. When the production is changed from smoky Ledaig to non-smoky Tobermory, this is particularly difficult and requires a cleaning period of two weeks.

The Mashing

Tobermory has its own water source called 'Gearr Abhainn'. The Tobermory River carries the water past the distillery and was also used as its power supply in the past. The water is interspersed with peaty phenols that give Tobermory a slightly phenolic character although the malt used for Tobermory Whisky is unpeated. The malting floors have been closed long ago.

For a long time, Tobermory still used an old cast-iron mash tun that had a capacity of 5 tons. However, this was replaced by a new environmentally friendly semi lauter mash tun made of stainless steel and with energy recovery of the water. A wall in the distillery was specially knocked down for the replacement.

Mashing is done in three stages, the last of which is recycled to get the maximum sugar. The mash tun is filled with 9.5 tons of barley grist, which yields about 33,000 litres of mash, that then goes on to fermentation.

The Fermentation

The four wooden washbacks made of Douglas fir wood have a capacity of 50,000 litres each, but are only filled with a batch of mash of 33,000 litres each before the yeast is added.

The still has a relatively long fermentation time of 56 to over 100 hours, resulting in a fruity flavour. The process is the same for both types of Whisky, the difference is only in the smoke content.

The Distillation

The Tobermory Distillery uses two pairs of pot stills. One of the pairs was renewed in 2014. The two wash stills are filled with 16,500 litres each, the spirit stills with 16,700 litres each. The size of the stills is roughly the same and the shape is also similar, yet each still is slightly different. It is rather unusual for the spirit still to be filled with more alcohol. This is due to the distilling speed of Tobermory, which is significantly slower in the spirit still. This allows the alcohol to spread out better, rise up the Lyne Arm to the condenser and the condensate can flow back into the copper pot.

The Warehouses

Tobermory has hardly any storage capacity, as the warehouse located across the road was once sold and converted into flats. Therefore, most of the distillery's casks are stored at its sister distillery Deanston near Doune. There is a small warehouse on site with space for storing smaller quantities of casks for special editions or limited bottlings.

Visitor Centre

Tobermory has a visitor centre and offers tours. The Whisky and Gin Experiences can be booked online via the distillery's homepage.

Visitor information

Distillery Address:

Tobermory Distillery
Ledaig, Tobermory
Isle of Mull
PA75 6NR
Tel. +44 168 8302647
Email: info.tobermory@remove-this.distellinternational.com 

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