Distell Group have been a busy bunch of late, and after the huge launch of their inaugural Malt Gallery towards the end of last year, their PR team could be forgiven for assuming they’d be in for a quiet time of it for the foreseeable!

Not on your Nelly, they won’t! You see, as far as production is concerned from their Tobermory distillery, there’s not been ANY since 2017. Although the regular Tobermory 10-year-old has been readily available, there’s not been much talk of it recently. I think it’s fair to say that people in certain quarters were wondering if there was an actual plan to reopen the place at all!

So, after bringing six brand new whiskies online recently – featuring Deanston, Ledaig and Bunnahabhain – I guess there was a conversation along the lines of….

  • “It’s a shame we’ve not done anything with Tobermory….”
  • “….hold my beer.”

And then…… BOOM!

The newly-refurbished Tobermory distillery will be open later this year! It has a brand spanking new still room and stills, there will be an artist in residence at the distillery whose work will be exhibited all year round, there will be gin, there will be tours, there will be production, there will be promotion of Mull as a whisky destination, there will be… well, more than you can shake a stick at!

At the launch night, Senior Blender Kirstie McCallum and Brand Director Derek Scott laid it all out as if they do this stuff every day, in a room filled with artworks and photographs reflecting their intent of showcasing not only the whisky but the island itself. And good on them, I say – I may well have to make a point of visiting myself, it looks awesome! Incidentally, I’ve not been, but Kirsty reckons it’s a great night out. If you’re into that sort of thing – Drink Responsibly etc…

And what better way to celebrate this than with – you guessed it – A Brand New Signature Whisky! Oh yes, we now have a Tobermory 12-Year-Old! With snazzy new packaging and everything! And here’s what I think of it:

Tobermory 12 Year Old, 46.3%, £46-ish

Maturation: American Oak

Colour: Pale Amber

Nose: Slightly less briny than its predecessor, showing rich vanilla with a thin dusting of seasalt. Deeper inhalation unveils banana fruit notes, some custard and the influence of good bourbon.

Palate: Medium-thick mouthfeel, a very slight prickle of spice (cardamom and cinnamon, a twist of the pepper mill and vanilla) makes way for more bourbony banana and the slightest inflection of grapefruit.

Finish: Dry spice initially, then the threat of citrus is overtaken by a salty haze gently blown away by a spring breeze from the heather bush.

Comment: Good, balanced whisky! Enough tradition to identify with the house style and enough refinement to enthuse about new beginnings. As ever there will be opinions on how it fares against the 10 year-old it replaces and ultimately, Loungers, as I always try to instil: that’s your decision, not mine! GO OUT AND TRY SOME!

Thanks for popping in again, everyone! And a big shout out to Kat, Toni, Kirsty and Derek for a fun night at the launch!

See you soon,

Connas