Tobermory: 10 Year (Scottish Island Single Malt Whisky: 10 Years: 46.3% ABV)

Visual: Light grain colour.

Viscosity: Very slow streaks. Moderately thick

Nose: Squeezed lime. Vanilla. Grain fields. Oak. Sulphur. Water makes less distinct.

Body:  Quite fiery alcohol. Lime cheesecake. Milk chocolate and kiwi fruit. Sweet strawberry undertone. Water makes toffee chocolate and sweet lime yet still fiery. Some golden syrup comes out.

Finish: Kiwi fruit and milk chocolate. Dry. Strawberry. Slightly dusty. Water adds toffee and more chocolate. Pears. More water makes praline like.

Conclusion: I ran into the peated Ledaig version of this a while back but I realised I had never really played with the unpeated Tobermory expression. So when I saw it in a tidy little 5cl bottle I thought I might as well rectify that.

The unusually high abv for a base expression seems like an odd pick for the style of whisky.  The whisky is light and citrus fruit filled which doesn’t seem like it needs the extra grip the abv brings.  Oddly the aroma breaks up a bit with water as well, and water is recommended to break up the fire a little.  After a bit of play adding water I started finding the chocolate toffee coming out in the body which helps play against the fruitiness. This is where it gets most interesting, though by this point the water has pretty much nullified all but the egg sulphur like elements of the aroma which matches the flavour badly.

It’s nice like that but still fiery, which definitely doesn’t match the style.   In fact the alcohol burn can survive a surprising amount of water being added.  This is probably the whiskys main weakness.  Thankfully a bit more water will eventually balance the fire out and adds a nice praline touch.  However by this point the delicious toffee elements seem to have been submerged by the water.

Overall a range of nice elements that you can’t seem to get all at one time. The aroma breaks before you get the toffee and the toffee breaks before the fire does.  It gives it a nice bit of exploration but it does mean that you never reach that balanced level where everything works at one.  A nice whisky to play about with but not a favourite.

Background: Tobermory is a distillery I know better for their more peated expressions bottled under the “Ledaig” line.  This miniature was picked up to give the lighter less peated base expression a try.