Sherry Bomb Sundays – Warehouse 1: Tobermory 2004 Pedro Ximenez Finish, 16 y/o
Next up for ‘Sherry Bombs Sundays’ is a slightly different whisky. As you can probably guess by the name, this particular expression spent time in Pedro Ximenez casks as oppose to the typical Oloroso. As we were planning this series we were keen to showcase the different types of sherry casks used in whisky production, including Pedro Ximenez, Oloroso, and even Fino.
Pedro Ximenez sherry is particularly sweet. For this reason it is more frequently used as a finishing cask, particularly for peated whisky as it offers a great contrast to smoke. So it was unusual to see it as a finishing cask for the upeated Tobermory spirit!
The Tobermory Distillery has a very colourful history. With multiple closers, re-openings, re-brandings, and owners! Originally established in 1798 they are one of the oldest distilleries in Scotland. In 2013 they were purchased by Distell, and following a thorough renovation they re-fired their stills in 2019.
A small distillery – making roughly 750,000 litres of spirit each year – they have two distinct distillation periods. One focuses on the un-peated Tobermory spirit, and the other on their peated Ledaig expressions. Each of these two spirits incorporate the coastal vibes from it’s location on the Isle of Mull.
Warehouse 1: Tobermory 2004 Pedro Ximenez Finish, 16 y/o – 56.7% ABV
This particular whisky started it’s life in a bourbon barrel before being transferred to a PX Butt in 2013. Spending the final six/seven years of it’s life taking on the wonderful sherry flavours, and gorgeous colour. By product of being from ‘Warehouse 1’ this is a single-cask expression, however they frequently release sherry influenced expressions, so it’s well worth keeping an eye on their website.
Cask Number: 1 (PXB)
Bottled (by hand): 06/10/2020
Cask Type: Pedro Ximenez Butt
To quickly acknowledge, in contrast to our first two whiskies in this series, this particular expression has just been finished in a sherry cask, not fully matured. That being said, we felt that the flavours really hit the ‘sherry bomb’ mark!
“This whisky has taken on beautiful burnt copper colour from the cask and is bursting with rich jam, spicy notes and just a hint of sea salt”
Nose: clove, pear, ginger parkin, chocolate covered cherries, brown sugar, LOTS of raisins, German Christmas cake, some malty notes
Palate: chocolate covered raisins, very jammy, fruit-cake, lovely honey sweetness, caramelised brown sugar, dates, buttered malt-loaf
Finish: coats your whole mouth, baking spices build nicely, some sulphur, peppery spice, orange oil, sea salt
If this dram doesn’t just scream Christmas, then we don’t know what else will! The combination of sweet caramel, heaps of raisins, lovely malt, coastal salt, light sulphur, and chocolate mixes so nicely. Texturally decadent and rich, this feels perfect for late Christmas Day to gild the lily!
At 56.7% ABV this whisky is not holding it’s punches. However, there is no painful alcohol burn, instead the high ABV cuts nicely through the jammy texture and flavours. There is no doubt that this is an intense whisky! But intensity is sometimes whats required.
Final Thoughts …
We love the flavours that the PX butt finishing delivers to this dram. It’s like drinking a liquid malt-loaf and we are totally here for it! The right call to keep the ABV so high, and definitely a slow-sipper for the end of an evening. It’s a testament to the skills and talent of the master distiller at Tobermory to keep this whisky from going over the edge.