Tobermory is the capital of the Scottish Isle of Mull and home to one of the oldest commercial distilleries in Scotland.
The distillery produces two distinct single malt brands. Tobermory is an unpeated single malt, whilst Ledaig is heavily peated.
Tobermory is owned by the South Africa-based Distell Group Ltd.
Tobermory is a fruity, malty whisky with subtle coastal notes.
Tobermory distillery produces peated and unpeated whisky in a 50-50 split. Unpeated whisky is bottled under the distillery's name.
The still house is equipped with four pot stills. Each is fitted with a boil ball and the lyne arms have a bizarre S-shaped kink. Both of these features increase reflux within the still.
Maturation takes place in a combination of ex-bourbon whiskey barrels and ex-sherry casks. Storage space is limited on the island so a number of casks are held at Deanston distillery on the mainland.
There is a small core range of bottlings including 12 and 23-year-old expressions. Recent limited editions have included the 2003 Madeira Finish and a 17-year-old matured in an Oloroso sherry cask.
The distillery also produces Tobermory Gin using hand-selected botanicals like juniper, tea, heather, elderflower and sweet orange peel.
The village of Tobermory was established as a fishing port by the British Fisheries Society in 1788.
In 1797, a kelp merchant named John Sinclair applied for a lease to build a house and a distillery. His initial application was refused and he was encouraged instead to establish a brewery. Within the year, it had been converted to a distillery.
Sinclair named his distillery Ledaig, meaning safe haven. He was among the first to purchase a distilling license under the Excise Act of 1823.
Sinclair’s distillery fell silent in 1837. The reason for the closure is somewhat unclear but it remained dormant for 44 long years. Production resumed in 1878 and by 1916 the distillery had been absorbed by DCL.
The early 20th century was a difficult time for the Scotch industry and many businesses were forced to close. Ledaig distillery ceased production in 1930 and stayed silent for four decades.
In 1972, a partnership between a Liverpool shipping company and sherry producer Pedro Domecq reopened the distillery. Within three years, however, they were declared bankrupt and the distillery closed once more.
Kirkleavington Property took over in 1979 and resumed production. It was then the distillery's name was changed to Tobermory. Once again, however, success was fleeting. The distillery closed after just three years. Some of its buildings were sold and converted into holiday lets. Others were rented out and used to store cheese.
In 1993, what was left of the distillery was purchased by Burn Stewart for £800,000. They later became part of the Distell Group of South Africa. The company also own Deanston, Bunnahabhain and blended Scotch brand Black Bottle.
Distell announced a massive renovation of the distillery in 2017. Production would halt for two years to allow work to be completed. The refurbishment saw all four stills replaced and several upgrades made to the visitor centre.
Tobermory resumed production in July of 2019. To mark the occasion a new 12-year-old expression was launched.