Tobermory 23 1994 Sansibar The Clans Label

Thanks to throzen  for pouring me a dram of this.

If you look through my reviews and compare the amount of Ledaig to Tobermory, you should probably find a new hobby because that won’t take long: 42 Ledaig versus 12 Tobermory. I may enjoy the odd subtle whisky, and even the even subtle whisky, but I prefer my sweat-flavoured whisky to have peat, it would seem.

Yes, Ledaig and Tobermory have blue cheese, sweat, and many other dirty booty notes that have been listed in reviews over the years. If you didn’t know, well… Now you do. It’s all the same chemical, and it’s either your favourite thing like Napoleon (I’m coming home, don’t wash) or you find it gross (eww, the cheese is blue!)

I like my cheese blue. As well as my jokes.

So I was happy to see Tobermory 23 1994 Sansibar The Clans Label at the tasting I was at, because even though it’s not my preferred whisky from the Isle of Mull, it still could be. Wondering why?

Well before the distillery got all gussied up and became one of Scotland’s (current) darlings, there were rumours (that I can’t confirm) that labelling and sticking to recipes weren’t really a thing. There are lightly peated Ledaig and heavily peated Tobermory, which is confusing to say the least. Even more so when you talk about some independent bottlers who said “fuck it” and just use one name for either sometimes.

So this single cask, PX sherry cask matured whisky could be either, or it could be a Tobermory. And while I’m less inclined to Tobermory, I’ve been softening like it’s cold outside to older Tobermory that got their shit together.

So let’s see how this tastes, shall we?

Price: $252

Region: Island

Vintage: 1994

Bottled: 2017

Cask type: Pedro Ximenez Sherry Cask

No of bottles: 242

Abv: 57.9%

Colour: 10YR 8/8

Nose: Cinnamon buns, prunes, orange blossom

Alright, I think there’s peat in here. Or a lot of barrel char on the PX. Because cinnamon this well developed either means the sherry cask was wet as an otter’s behind on spring break or the original spirit was peated.

Or maybe it’s the cask. Let’s be honest, it’s also fruity on top of being yeasty and bready. Nonetheless, a nicely complex nose.

Taste: Cranberry sauce, sweat, burnt sugar, red licorice

Tart, body juice, burnt aspects, and anise. I’m.. confused. On the one hand, a really good PX cask can explain the spice, so perhaps this is Tobermory. On the other hand, it’s really strong here, so I don’t know if it was peated or not.

What I do know is this is very tasty, and the burnt sugar is an interesting element. As someone who scrapes the sides of baked goods for that hit, I’m enjoying it, but some of you may find it off putting. Or should I say, “off pudding? No. No, I shouldn’t say that at all. Moving on.

Finish: Mint, cloves, currant sauce, tobacco (spicy, herbal), cherry syrup

A quicker finish than I’d like. Like a virgin on prom night in their parent’s sports car fast. Blink and you’ll miss it.

Water helped a bit, but I had trouble, y’all. Maybe I just enjoyed the taste and nose so much that a less-than-long finish didn’t fit my expectations, as some of my fellow drinkers didn’t agree, but that’s their mileage and this is mine.

Or maybe it was the tobacco note. Quick version? I don’t like the flavour of tobacco, and it’s here. Sure, there’s spice outside of the herbal note, and there’s some cherry and currant, but it’s not doing it for me.

Conclusion: If you can deal with the short finish and enjoy tobacco more than me, this is a must buy. Maybe aim for a bit of water and extend it out and you’re good. Maybe I’m being picky, as I felt the taste and nose were just so nice and then the finish had flaws.

It’s hard to say, really. Usually I try to take a 100-ft view on these, but here it seems like I was annoyed enough by the finish that I’m being cruel. So I’d look for this if I was you, and I wouldn’t take my thoughts as a reason to not try it or buy it, rather just me being a tad pickier this time around.


Scotch review #1578, Island review #171, Whisky Network review #2302

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