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Tobermory Distillery's latest limited-edition whiskies are a perfect advert for Mull

The penultimate whisky from the Hebridean Series is something special.

Tobermory Distillery's latest limited-edition whiskies are a perfect advert for Mull
Marc Chacksfield
21 March 2024

You always know that you are about to witness something special when Berry Bros & Rudd is the venue for a tasting session.

Britain's oldest wine and spirit merchant chooses its drinks extremely carefully and one of the latest whiskies to be added to its shop is the stunning Tobermory Hebridean Series 26YO Oloroso Cask Finish.

This is the fourth, and penultimate, whisky in Tobermory's Hebridean Series. The idea for the series is simple but brilliant - what does the Hebridean climate, some choice sherry casks and years of maturation do to the distinctive taste of a Tobermory whisky? The answer is: a lot!

Using the coveted Tobermory 15 Year Old as a base liquid, the series began in 2021 with a 23 year old and every year since it has been maturing in Oloroso sherry casks, offering up a new, distinctive flavour.

"It's just lovely to see the difference that a year makes," says Tobermory master blender Julieann Fernandez, who accompanied us on our taste test of the new whisky.

"I think a lot of people just assume that a year doesn't really make all that much difference but it absolutely does, especially in Scotland. We don't know what kind of summer or what kind of winter we will have."

Tobermory Distillery's latest limited-edition whiskies are a perfect advert for Mull
Image Credit: Tobermory

The Tobermory distillery was established in 1798 and is the Isle of Mull’s only whisky distillery, and one of the oldest commercial distilleries in Scotland.

The town the distillery is in is perhaps best known for doubling as Balamory, the CBeebies children's show, but its distillery is an integral part of not just the livelihood of many of those who live there but the makeup of the area.

That's why the Hebridean Series is so special for Tobermory, as it is both a love letter to the whisky it makes and the place where it is made.

The inspiration for this 26 year old are the white-tailed eagles of Mull. Mull boasts the largest nesting population of white-tailed eagles, which can have a wingspan of up to 2.5 metres. Given they were once considered extinct in Britain, it is a brilliant feat of conservation.

It is this bird which adorns the packaging of this limited-edition set. To re-iterate the importance of the Isle of Mull, the photograph was taken by wildlife photographer and filmmaker Gordon Buchanan who is also Tobermory Distillery’s Island Ambassador.

He grew up in Mull, telling us of his childhood spent playing in the then-abandoned distillery, and is something of a whisky aficionado himself.

In fact, the second whisky we taste - a superb limited-edition Ledaig Triple Wood - is his favourite of the lot, with its sweet poached pear nose, spice and vanilla palate and incredible toasted toffee finish.

To cement the Ledaig Triple Wood further into the history of Mull, a donation from the production of Ledaig Triple Wood will be given to the Mull and Iona Community Trust - and will support the long-term conservation and restoration of the Ardura Forest, one of the UK’s most ambitious rewilding projects.

Tobermory Distillery's latest limited-edition whiskies are a perfect advert for Mull
Image Credit: Tobermory

Back to the Tobermory Hebridean Series 26 Year Old. It's got a stunning gold colour that comes from the Oloroso sherry casks.

I got notes of ginger cake, with a palate of sherry-drenched figs, ending with honeyed hazelnuts. The balance of this dram is incredible, with the finish lingering and well rounded.

There is something that still remains, though, and that's the distinctive Tobermory taste. It's there and robust enough to stand on its own. Even through the double maturation and the years spent in the Oloroso Sherry Casks, it has not lost that character of Tobermory.

I guess that's what 230 years of being on the Island does for you.

The limited edition Tobermory Hebridean Series 26YO Oloroso Cask Finish has an ABV of 49.12%, and is limited to 4,560 bottles, with bottles priced at £370 - find out more at Tobermory's official site.

Ledaig Triple Wood has an ABV of 53.8% and is available for £95. Head to Tobermory's official site for more details.