I announced on Twitter last night (@awildothyenters) that my first review would be of a personal favorite, that favorite is Tobermory 10 year old. How I discovered Tobermory is quite the amusing story.
While working behind the bar, I often made jokes with a bearded regular about the long hours I put in as a bar manager. We took to referring to ourselves as “Toby” (a reference to Kunta Kente’s slave name in “Roots”). It was a very inside joke but became such a running thing that there were other slightly less regular (and slightly less bearded) customers who sincerely thought the bearded regular’s name was Toby.
One day, before a shift, I decided to go by a local liquor store with a fairly decent scotch selection to pick up something neither of us had tried before. As I was browsing the scotch isle, my eye only caught the first few letters of the bottle housing what would become one of my regular stock bottles; “Tobe.” That was enough. I’d found a scotch called “Tobe” that the bearded wonder and I could share a laugh over.
My expectations for the bottle were not high. It was of average price and I’d never heard anyone talking about it. Now that I look back, Tobermory was the first scotch I approached with no preconceptions and a completely open mind. It was exciting. I knew nothing of the bottle when I opened it up and jokes were already flying. As is a usual custom of mine as soon as the cork was loose (I was surprised at the cork at first, thinking this would just be a twist top scotch with nothing special about it) I brought it to my nose and inhaled deeply. That’s when the intrigue started.
Off the nose…well, I don’t want to ruin the review, but off the nose I instantly smelled one of my favorite smells in any beverage, uniqueness. You can nose as many scotches as you like that don’t say “Tobermory” on the label and you’ll never find one quite like the treasure of Mull. I instantly went from having no expectations of what the whisky would taste like to having high hopes that it was half as good as it smelled. I poured a dram into my favorite glass and took another smell. This time, I got a great feel for the body and a better idea of what I might be tasting.
As the bearded wonder and I both took our first sip, our jokes stopped and we looked down at our glasses in shock. This was not what we expected from a relatively inexpensive scotch. The taste lingered, the body filled the mouth but the finish, oh the finish was unlike anything we’d had before or since.
If I had to pick one scotch that opened my eyes to the myriad of taste differences amongst the different distilleries and bottlings available; if I had to pick one scotch that was the first stepping stone from me being a casual scotch drinker into wanting to taste every single one for the thrill of exploration; it would most likely be Tobermory. While it doesn’t take the throne as my favorite scotch of all time (my heart will forever belong to an 18 year old from Orkney) it does hold a special fondness and a permanent place in my liquor cabinet.
Given my history with this bottle, I thought it fitting that Tobermory 10 year old be the first whisky to fill the sails of this site.
-No glass is half empty, unless you’re waiting for more whisky!