Mull, Scotland: Highland Region

Tobermory Whisky Distillery is the only distillery on the island of Mull, a biggish small island off the west coast of Scotland.

Ah, island life… where the sheep have right of way on the single track road, roam freely round the island, and are liable to eat your flowers if you leave your garden gate open… where the Heilan’ Coo gives you the beady eyeball as best it can from behind its frizzy ‘do… where the mobile cinema comes to visit you every few months, the mobile library a tad more frequently, and where “bank hold up” takes on a whole new meaning when one finds oneself stuck behind the mobile bank as it heads off for its weekly stint in each village….

In relative terms, compared to some of the other villages on Mull, Tobermory is a thriving metropolis. Its beautiful colourful buildings cluster around the bay, adding a splash of brightness to grey days.

Tobermory Bay Showing Whisky Distillery

Tobermory Bay, with the whisky distillery on the far side

The name of the village itself comes from the Gaelic meaning “well of Mary”, and the area where the distillery is situated is referred to as Ledaig (pronounced “lay-check”), meaning “safe haven”. Indeed, the bay is a veritable calm sanctuary from the rough seas further out.

The distillery was built in 1798, and was originally actually called Ledaig Distillery in honour of its position. Since that time, the distillery seems to have spent more time closed down than in production, so much so that predictions were made in the early 1980s that it would never produce a single malt again. Luckily, the makers of those predictions don’t appear to have had a psychic bone in their bodies, and the distillery reopened in 1989, and is still going strong today.

And it most definitely produces a single malt. More than one, in fact:

  • Tobermory 10 Year Old – a medium dry, smooth and fruity whisky.
  • Tobermory 15 Year Old – a limited edition, un-chill-filtered whisky, matured in sherry casks. Being a special edition, this one comes wrapped all fancy like, in tissue paper illustrated with specially commissioned paintings by Sonas Mclean illustrating the bay, placed in a dark-gold oak box, with tasting notes from the Master Distiller.
  • Ledaig Single Malt – various ages and bottlings are available.
  • Iona Single Malt – a little known whisky, named after the island of Iona, just off the coast of Mull. It seems that this young whisky is only available on the islands themselves and at the distillery. Whether it’s worth making a special trip for remains to be seen – some people enjoy it, yet many others have written rather scathing words about it. Oh well, if you make the trip, and the Iona malt doesn’t satisfy your quality standards, the others certainly will!

Tobermory’s products enjoy what the distillery calls Dual Location Maturation. In other words, the whisky is taken to one of the parent company’s distilleries on the mainland for most of its maturation period before being transferred back to Mull for its final year to get a bit of sea air in its old age. I’m guessing that this convoluted process is only partly related to refining the taste of the whisky itself, and possibly has more to do with the fact that the distillery has extremely limited storage space after its bonded warehouses were sold off and converted in a block of flats during one of the periods when the distillery was shut down!

General Tasting Notes

Tobermory Whisky Distillery Tasting Notes

Tobermory Whisky Distillery Tasting Notes

After reading all about the Tobermory distillery, we bet you’re curious to taste their whisky – click here to buy a bottle of Tobermory now!

Distillery Contact Information

Address: Isle of Mull
PA75 6NR
Telephone: +44 (0)168 830 2647

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