Tobermory – 18 Year Old – Chieftain’s – 1995 – Cask #1287 – Single Malt Scotch Whisky | 46% (92 Proof) (Here)
Sample provided by ImpEx Beverages
Color/Appearance: A shimmering golden amber. Hammered copper. Warm and very inviting looking. Hard to find any specific cask information, but the label mentions that it was matured in a sherry butt. Non chill filtered and natural color. You have to love independent bottlers. Chieftain’s doesn’t have the most elegant bottle design but they sure know how to find some gems. Let’s take a look, shall we?
Nose: Honey, salt, greasy boat engines, salt water taffy, cinnamon, and baked apples. Fragrant fields of flowers with a musky undertone. The Island region with its ragged coast and salty ocean are here but in such a lush and decadent form. The rain outside is never ending but inside you are warm by the fireplace with your favorite blanket and a dog-eared book. There is a peaty presence, even though I know the barley was not peated. This may be from the fact that these same stills distill their peated whisky, Ledaig, or that the water used runs through peat bogs. I find this a rather great asset but for those averse to peat, know that this influence isn’t too strong.
Palate: Caramel apples, long ago charred oak, limestone, and moss. Rich and spicy with an almost champagne like dryness. Elegant and mature tasting. The cask and spirit have had enough time to merge and round out any rough edges. The wood is starting to speak with a strong voice. Redwood boxes filled with cigars, handmade leather chairs and wood shavings on the floor of a master carpenter. Elegant oak is so nice once it rears its head.
Finish: This lingers for a good long time. Seems to hang around in way usually reserved for cask-strength whisky. Exotic spices and oak swirl together with fleeting hints of malty sweetness and green apples.
Overall: This is such a quality malt with a rounded and delicious flavor. Cask-strength would have been nice but I really feel that this is proofed perfectly. Shows maturity and depth beyond its age. I love that the sherry influence is so dry and restrained, allowing the wood and spirit to be the stars. In an era where single malts are expected to either blast you with peat or overwhelm you with dense sherry it is nice to see a more simple approach. Lets just make a high quality whisky and let it speak for itself. I really appreciate that and would love to grab a bottle of this. I know that in some circles this distillery can be polarizing but I find its unique character wonderful. Really looking forward to exploring more whisky from them soon.