A distillery exclusive always captures my attention. After all, if you can only get it at the distillery, surely it must be special. Only 990 bottles of this Tobermory were released after a maturation of 17 years, the last months spent on a Madeira cask. That’s a fortified wine from the eponymous Portuguese island off the coast of Africa.
The somewhat wild, untamed DNA of Tobermory shows itself immediately – wet earth, wilted flowers, yeast and some freshly sawed wood in this case – but is joined quickly by light woodsmoke and sweetness in the guise of apricot pastry, gooseberries, marzipan and err… wood glue? Reminds me a bit of the glue I used in pre-school.
This translates on the palate into sauerkraut with caramel – yup! – marzipan, smoked ham and lots of pepper. Black pepper to be precise as well as some cloves. Lots of woodsmoke which again makes me think about the peated brother Ledaig. The alcohol is well integrated, making this a very enjoyable malt.
In the long finish, the spiciness arrives first (with a surprising salty note), then the sweetness of the Madeira to end in a bitter note.
Layered, daring, successful Tobermory.