Tasting: Tobermory 20 yo 1994 by Cadenhead’s

Tobermory 20 yo 1994 by Cadenhead'sDram data:
Distillery: Tobermory
Bottler: Cadenhead’s
Distilled: 1994
Bottled: 2015
Age: 20 years
Limitation: 570 bottles
Casks: sherry cask
Alcohol: 57,8%
unchillfiltered; natural colour
Whiskybase link

Tasting notes:
The nose starts with a quite strong mixture of alcohol and sulphur notes (I don’t mind sulphur as long as it’s not taking over, which it isn’t in this case). Oak spices, caramel, cocoa and hints of dried dark fruits in the background, but this baby needs a bit of water for further dissection. Three espresso spoons to a 25 ml measure seems about right. Ah yes, a classic european oak ex-sherry cask nose, none of this polished, vanilla-laden designer stuff from American oak casks we see so much of these days… Aged to a point where the cask spices take over the sherry influence – but don’t mistake it for being over-the-top woody, it isn’t at all, just the european oak flexing its muscles, that’s all. Allspice, star aniseed, cloves, aromatic wine-infused pipe tobacco, dried oranges with rind, cocoa, ground coffee beans from yesterday and a profound base sweetness of dried plums, ultra-dry raisins and molasses. The sulphur’s now almost gone as well, hooray! The palate (diluted) mirrors the nose – spice meets sweetness. A rich, full-on experience. Cloves, aniseed, cinnamon, liquorice, tobacco, coffee beans, oily cocoa powder on a sweet dark fruit puree, molasses and burnt (still sweet) caramel. Slightly dry too and thankfully no sulphur influence on the palate. It gets even sweeter if even more water is added. The medium long finish starts off quite spicy upon swallowing, mellowing down to a mixture of sweet, dry and spicy notes.

This is not for the faint of heart or the inexperienced malt drinker. A lively, kicking, spicy-sweet, slightly sulphury Tobermory from a very active european oak ex-sherry cask. Bottled before the oak got a chance of taking over, but, still, don’t expect to find too much of the original distillery character behind the big, bold notes.

Score: 86/100
(Nose: 88 Palate: 86 Finish: 85)

The sample was kindly provided by Cadenhead’s Whisky Market Austria. Cheers!

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