Thanks to /u/toadpooh for this sample.
My history with Tobermory is messy as heck. So time to get my bias out of the way.
The first time I reviewed Tobermory, it was part of a meal and was the end of reviewing a lot of whiskies.
The second time I did it I did it to prove that while my tasting notes may be off, it was still not my thing. Yes, my notes were off. No, my score and overall impression was not. Got called out by /u/reddbdb
The third time I reviewed a Tobermory was to see if I could ever enjoy one, though I found it expensive, but that didn’t effect my score.
Suffice to say, I haven’t had the chance to review one since. Until I was traded Tobermory 1994 Montgomerie’s, which made me pause. On the one hand, I strive to constantly try everything, because I truly believe every distillery has a dram that I’ll like.
On the other hand…. Do I want to open up this particular can of worms? And by that I mean I’m not usually a fan of the typical funk or earth from them. And there has been some bitterness issues in the past.
But nothing ventured, nothing gained.
This is an 18 year independent bottling from Montgomerie’s Single Cask Collection. From what I can find, they are owned by Angus Dundee Distillers PLC, and are setup out of New Jersey.
Angus Dundee created many blends and owns Tomintoul. They also own Mackillop’s Choice, which is more famous.
And… that’s all I could find on this IB. It’s the first one I’ve ever tried, so let’s see how it tastes, shall we?
Price: N/A at the LCBO
Distilled: 23 September 1994
Bottled: July 2012
Cask No: 72
Colour: 5Y 9/3
Nose: Raspberry sorbet, strawberries and cream, honey, cranberry scones, banana bread, apple sauce, oak
Wow. Interesting nose. Smells nothing like the OB varieties.
This is like eating an Eton Mess, which isn’t an euphemism for a girl on her period. There’s a lot of sweets, red fruit, and cream notes.
Takes some time to open up, but eventually is quite nice to nose and full bodied.
Taste: Oak, caramel, grass, cinnamon, raspberry, peppercorn sauce, banana, pear
Very different taste than the nose. Yes, some of the red fruit is here, however no fear, Tobermory Fans. The grass, earth, and metallic, smokey, and even medicinal parts are gone with age. Which I like.
You may not.
Finish: Walnut, brine, allspice, dry apple, wheat, wood, ginger, smoke
Very nutty, smokey, and salty finish. This takes the raw aspects of the younger Tobermory I have had and really shows what a few years can do to it.
Wish there was a little more at this point. While it pairs well with the current season, the nose and to some extent the taste wrote a check the finish just couldn’t afford.
Conclusion: Really good nose, nice taste, meh finish. If there’s anything holding me back from loving this, it’s probably the fact that the nose stayed complex while the taste and finish seemed to suffer from the water.
That said, this company was smart enough to not water it past 46%, and ended up with a good dram.
I don’t know if I’d recommend this to you if you’re a big fan of Tobermory 10. It’s very different. I’d say it’s a good growth onto the Tobermory 15, and at a more reasonable price. Also has no rough sherry elements, so maybe grab it over the 15 if you have trouble with those types.
None the less, this is a really nice dram, and I hope to try more both from the IB and from the distillery in the future.
Scotch review #518, Island review #48, Whisky Network review #838