Once more we are crossing the water for this month’s distillery visit, to the Isle of Mull in the Inner Hebrides. The main town is Tobermory and it is here that we find the eponymous distillery, the only one on the island.

Tobermory Distillery was founded in 1798 by John Sinclair who saw a business opportunity and leased some land in an area known as Ledaig (“Safe haven” in Gaelic and pronounced Led-chick) to build a distillery. This makes it one of the oldest legitimate distilleries in Scotland. It was probably a wise move on his part, since the village had originally been founded in 1788 as a fishing port but the scheme foundered; however, whisky always has a market!

The distillery was originally named Ledaig and, as was usual in the nineteenth century, its whisky was heavily peated and smoky. It has had a fairly chequered career over the years and has several times been closed down, the longest period being 1930 – 1971. It has also had changes of name, being known at various times as both Tobermory and Ledaig Distillery.

Finally in the 1990s they shook themselves out and went firm in their naming policy. Tobermory Distillery now produces two very different styles of whisky; an unpeated single malt called Tobermory and a heavily peated one called Ledaig. They are un-chill filtered and of natural colour. There are a number of special releases of both versions produced, although many are available only from the distillery shop.

There was yet another closure in spring 2017, but this time it was planned rather than of economic necessity. There were major refurbishments to the roof and buildings, new equipment was installed and a new visitor centre was built. During this period, Tobermory whisky was not available except for a small supply at the distillery, much to the disappointment of its many fans. However, the good news is that it has now re-opened and Tobermory whisky is back on the shelves. The original core of the range was a 10 year old, but that has now been replaced by a 12 year old. It is a pale gold colour with a fruity nose of fresh orchard fruits, ripe barley and a touch of cinnamon pastry. The mouth is very malty, slightly oily and with a full flavour of fresh fruit. The finish is quite short with orange zest and toffee.

Mull is a beautiful island to visit, with much to see. The distillery visitors centre has a range of tours to suit every pocket (and level of interest), whilst visitors of a certain age may have a sense of déjà vu when landing at the port of Tobermory – it was used as the set for filming the popular early-2000s children’s programme, Balamory!

Tobermory 12 year old single malt whisky is available to purchase at Lincoln Whisky Shop, Bailgate, Lincoln.