24 drams till Christmas 2016 #14: Tobermory 19 yo by Cadenhead’s

Tobermory 19 yo by Cadenhead'sDram data:
Distillery: Tobermory
Bottler: Cadenhead’s
Distilled: 1995
Bottled: 07.2014
Age: 19
Limitation: 498 bottles
Casks: Sherry Butt
Alcohol: 54,2%
unchillfiltered and uncoloured
Whiskybase link

What’s that wee dusty miniature back there buried below other samples? Tobermory? Haven’t had one in a while – don’t mind if I pour one…

Tasting notes:
The nose opens on… aaah! Dirty sherry whisky profile! None of this highly polished, clinically, modern stuff! Burnt rubber and oily rags with a bottle of Manzanilla poured over them on first contact! Not for wimps, that’s for sure. But what else is there? Almost burnt roasted dried fruits (any fruit, really), lovage, burnt toffee (hey, how many more burnt things can you cram into a Sherry butt?), high-octane chocolate and a handful of cloves. Sulphur, you ask? Well… err… maybe a burnt matchstick, but that’s about it. With water: not too much change, just a tad more accessible for people not used to this style of whisky. Let’s check the palate! This one takes some time to build up, starting out creamy and soft – but then both the alcohol and the aromas hit! Quite a mouthful! Oily, mouth-watering. White pepper and ginger up front paired with quite a load of alcohol. Once that passes, there’s a dense mixture of burnt dark fruits (plums, raisins, figs), condensed fruit sweetness of said fruits with a bit of (good quality) rubber mixed in. Burnt toffee, dark chocolate, dark cherries, seasoned with allspice and lovage providing a dry and herbal note. Let’s see how this baby swims… well, it does! Much more accessible and “easy” without too much of a change – but it loses the “fun” of the brutal cask-strength experience. The long finish also has pepper and ginger upon swallowing but soon mellows down to more burnt, sweet, dark fruit with a bit of rubber.

BAM! In-your-face! This is not for the faint of heart! A dirty, rubbery, heavily sherried Tobermory that still retains the right balance in regards to the (undoubtedly European) oak influence. Almost an antithesis to modern “just sweet” American oak sherried drams. Not for beginners, not for everybody – and, sadly, probably sold out just about everywhere. But I’m sure Cadenhead’s still has a cask or two with a similar profile…

Score: 88/100
(Nose: 87 Palate: 89 Finish: 88)

Thanks to Cadenhead’s Austria for the sample!

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