John Crabbie & Co: 1994 Tobermory 25yo

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The last fortnight has been a bit of a blur – from participating enthusiastically in this year’s virtual Feis Ile, to hosting my second virtual tasting to help fund the production of Leith Spirits’ C-19 hand sanitiser, to co-hosting the Big Fat Whisky Quiz Online Edition on World Whisky Day, it’s been a blast. Yet they are now distant, but fantastic, memories (if a little hazy), and so at the start of this new month, my thoughts turn to everything else that has been going on in the world of whisky over the past wee while.

First up is a 1994 25 year old single cask Tobermory from a sherry hogshead which has been released by Leith-based John Crabbie & Co. The brand is owned by Liverpool-based Halewood International, and they’ve recently opened their new Bonnington Distillery in Leith, having already established their first premises with the opening of the Chain Pier Distillery in Granton in late 2018.

John Kennedy, Head of Sales for Scotland at John Crabbie & Co, said: “Crabbie 1994 Island Single Malt is one of our most carefully planned releases to date. We’d had cask samples from distilleries all across Scotland and it was a difficult choice, but this sherry cask from Tobermory was absolute stand out with its nose of sweet macerated dates, fruit cake, warming spice and its orange marmalade and rich dark chocolate finish. It will most certainly appeal to those who take their whisky seriously.”

I try not to take anything too seriously, but a 25 year old single cask Tobermory certainly deserves my undivided attention. Let’s dive in.

Tobermory 1994 25yo
John Crabbie & Co
Ex-sherry hogshead
247 bottles
46.2% ABV
£300 RRP – enquiries here

Nose: Top notes of salted caramel, dry roasted nuts (particularly pecans, walnuts, and chestnuts), Danish pastries, and loads of honey. Then the sherry influences comes through, with stewed plums and dates, bramble liqueur, cherry lips sweets, sweet liquorice and a touch of anise.

Palate: Rich fruits power through initially, with dark cherries, red berries, poached apricots, orange liqueur, and a hint of raspberry jam. Then a touch of praline and treacle, along with hazelnuts, and toasted currants. Everything is underpinned with cloves and cinnamon stick.

Finish: Dries out, with charred twigs, dark chocolate, and some tea leaf.

Overall: Hugely flavoursome and very well balanced. The top notes I got on the nose are (for me) classic Tobermory aromas which I tend to find in a lot of the younger official bottlings; salted caramel, honey, and roasted nuts. These are backed up by a firm, but certainly not overpowering, sherry influence. The same goes for the palate; loads going on, but it never loses its way. A very impressive whisky, but perhaps priced a bit on the high side. There’s been quite a few early-to-mid 1990s Tobermory single casks released from a plethora of indie bottlers over the last two to three years, with their price tags sitting in the £100-£150 ball park. Regardless, as a liquid, it’s a fantastic single cask.




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