These two single malt whiskies, which each earned scores of 90-95 points from Wine Enthusiast, represent unique expressions of Scotland's terroir.
Situated on the Isle of Mull, the quaint village of Tobermory was founded in 1788 by fishermen who began using it as a resting place during their fishing expeditions in the Sound of Mull. The name Tobermory is derived from the ancient Gaelic word meaning "Mary's Well,"and refers to a nearby well on the Isle of Mull that was dedicated to the Virgin Mary centuries ago by Irish monks who lived on the island. In 1798 — just ten years after fishermen began using the port of Tobermory as a resting place — John Sinclair founded Tobermory Brewery and Distillery.
Today, Tobermory Distillery is the last remaining distillery on the Isle of Mull, and one of the oldest commercial distilleries in Scotland. It produces two distinctive styles of whisky: Tobermory 15 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky, an unpeated single malt whisky that reflects the heritage and culture of the Isle of Mull, and Ledaig 10 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky, a heavily peated single malt whisky that reflects the distillery's location in the Inner Hebrides archipelago.
Tobermory 15 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky is made from unpeated Scottish barley, which is malted and mashed using water sourced from Mary's Well. The water, which travels through the dense peat lochans of the Isle, has a peaty undertone, which adds a hint of smoke to Tobermory Single Malt Whisky.
In contrast, Ledaig 10 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky is made exclusively from Scottish barley that is dried directly over a peat flame. In addition, like the barley used to create Tobermory Single Malt, the grains used to make Ledaig are also malted and mashed with water sourced from Mary's Well, which contributes even stronger notes of smoke and sweet brine to the whisky's flavor profile.
After the grains used to make each single malt are milled and mashed, they are fermented for nearly four days in washbacks made of Oregon Pine. Each wash is then twice distilled, first through one of Tobermory's copper-pot wash stills, and again through one of Tobermory's copper-pot spirit stills.
Tobermory 15 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky is then aged for 14 years in ex-bourbon casks. The casks are stored on the Scottish mainland, where the consistent humidity and temperature encourage interaction between the whisky and the wood. After 14 years, the whisky is taken back to the Isle of Mull and matured for an additional year in ex-Olorosso sherry casks. The sherry casks, which are hand-selected by Master Blender Ian MacMillan, add hints of fruit to the already complex whisky, along with touches of sweet citrus and salty tang.
Tobermory 15 Year Old Single Malt earned the Double Gold Medal at the 2012 San Francisco World Spirits Competition and earned a score of 90-95 points from Wine Enthusiast.
Ledaig 10 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky is matured for a decade in used bourbon casks that are laid to rest in ancient vaults on the Isle of Mull. It has a bright, golden color with an aroma of sweet smoke, mint chocolate and seaweed. The notes of spicy smoke, vanilla, and malt are robust and complex, and lead to a spicy and vibrant finish. Ledaig 10 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky also earned a score of 90-95 points from Wine Enthusiast, which rated it a "Best Buy."
Tobermory 15 Year Old and Ledaig 10 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whiskies represent unique expressions, not only of Scotland's terrior, but also of one of the oldest commercial distilleries still in existence today.
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Ledaig - 92 (46% ABV)
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Tobermory: Aromas of brown butter, orange marmalade, sea salt and a hint of smoke. Initial rich notes of toffee, dried fruit and butterscotch evolve into a toasty, buttermilk and caramel sweetness. Finish is long and spicy and complemented by touches of oak and tobacco.