I have a lot of respect for Burn Stewart Distillers. Taking all their whiskies to 46% (or 46.3%) with no chill filtration or coloring is a move that shows their commitment to quality and transparency, and above all, to the whisky drinking community. It is also no secret that one of their entry level whiskies is my go-to daily dram (the Bunnahabhain 12, reviewed here). I have also reviewed the Tobermory 10 and the Ledaig 10 in the same series of entry level whiskies I did earlier this year. The Bunnahabhain 12 also made my Christmas Shopping List 2015 post.
In May 2015, Tobermory released a 42 year old Ledaig that has one of the most interesting stories a whisky can have.
The Tobermory distillery was started in 1798. In 1972, the stills were replaced, and stock from the first runs of these stills was set aside, and bottled in this 42 year old expression. As you can see, the theme of the boxing and bottling is copper, and for good reason. Said stills were retired in 2014, and not only was some of that copper from the stills used in the packaging, but also the last run of those stills were saved, and will be bottled and sent to each buyer of this Ledaig 42 in 10 years for free (it actually says “entitles the buyer to inherit a bottle of Ledaig 10YO from the last distillate from the now retired stills, which will be available in 2024”).Dùsgadh, means ‘awakening’ in Gaelic was chosen to reflect both the long time the distillate was slumbering in the cask, but I think it more befitting the fact the the distillery fell silent in 1930 and came back to life in 1972, with this distillate being the first coming off the newly installed stills at the newly named Ledaig Distillery Ltd. The 10 year old will be called Dèanta (Gaelic for ‘finished’).
Isn’t that a beautiful idea?
But as we all know, Tobermory produces also non peated whisky, and it too will be released soon in a 42 year old edition. As these are the same stills, one might assume that Burn Stewart might offer the same 10 year old inheritance. Of course, the bottles have not yet been released, but they should be out soon (I was told it would be out in late 2015, but seeing as it’s already December 14th, I assume early 2016 is a better bet). The liquid spent some of its maturation time at Deanston, and was then returned to Mull. I got to taste the Tobermory 42, and let me tell you, it’s outstanding.
Tobermory 42, Oloroso Sherry Finish (47.7% ABV, NCF, NC)
Appearance: Dark mahogany, very slow legs coming off a very steady necklace.
Nose: Deep old oak, leather, assorted dry fruit (dried peaches, apricots and prunes), old spices and some fresh sherry. Left to rest, some sour notes rise to the nose, with that very present oak. After some more time, a rich red fruity sweetness dominates.
Palate: Very thick, a lot of oak with some sherry sweetness, white pepper and sharp cloves in a very drying and tannic effect. There are also fruity notes that bring red berries to mind.
Linger: Drying, with a very tannic feeling all around the mouth, with a touch of sourness. There are light spices with a bitterness you’d associate with old wood. The linger is very long with sweet notes that come through on the tongue and some spices high in the throat.
This is a classic old sherry bomb, with the Oloroso finish serving to freshen up the sherry influence in the casks. It’s clear that the original had too much wood on its own, but the finish seems to have balanced that out nicely.
I must admit that I was too stingy to put water in it, but I’m pretty sure that if you have a bottle of it, you might want to experiment with water and see if it has a good effect on the whisky. All in all, this is definitely a dram to try if you can.