Tobermory and Ledaig:
Off the Western coast of Scotland is the Island of Mull. It is a volcanic island in origin and is loaded with beautiful scenery and interesting sights. At the far end of Mull is the tiny island of Iona, home to Saint Columba’s monastery, final resting place of 40 Irish, Scottish, and Norwegian Kings, and repository for Saint Brendan’s records of his voyage to the new world in the mid 600’s. The main town on Mull is Tobermory which has a lovely harbor and houses built right up the hills surrounding the harbor which feature fantastic views of the harbor. Mull (Tobermory) is known as the officer’s mess as there are so many retired British military enjoying their post career lives there.
There is one distillery there called Ledaig pronounced (Let-chick) (means “safe harbor” in Gaelic) and they make Ledaig and Tobermory Scotch. Tobermory means “Mary’s well” and there is a holy well in the upper portion of the modern day village. It has a great waterfall that tumbles down right beside the distillery and the usual tours and samplings are offered. We stayed at a B&B in Tobermory back in 1999 and enjoyed the tour and tasting of the distillery along with a museum and various eateries and pubs in the town. Maclean castle is near the town and has a great tour for those interested in history.
I had not tried Tobermory for several years and then in 2008 I was invited to a Texas hold’em evening at a friend’s house. It is the practice of my group of card playing friends that when we are able to get together we usually bring a bottle of some kind of scotch as a gift to the host of the party. I had two bottles at home that I had just bought which were a bottle of Macallan 12 and a bottle of Tobermory 10. I decided to gift the Tobermory and my host fixed me a glass of it right after I gave it to him. Upon tasting it I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it! It was just right not too harsh, not too weak and had a great taste. I was sort of regretting that I did not gift the Macallan instead. You won’t find Tobermory at the top of anyone’s list of world’s greatest scotches but I think it is a fine scotch and well worth a try. I have seen ratings of in the 70’s for Tobermory and comments of “oily” and “not my kind of malt” but you know, I really don’t go by ratings or comments. I am sorry but I never taste almond, or pine, or nuts, or banana, or most any of the things that scotch snobs claim to taste in scotch. I do taste oak, peat, sherry, and sometimes salt, but never the “foo-foo” tastes touted by the experts. Tobermory just plain tastes good, it tastes like a good scotch should taste. It is very smooth and has a very pleasant aftertaste. I won’t rate scotches but I will say I like this one. To me, one either likes the taste of a whisky or they don’t like the taste and there are plenty of varieties out there so that we can all find the ones we like. I recommend that you try Tobermory and I hope you find it as enjoyable as I do.
The Whisky Warrior