Isle of Mull's Tobermory distillery launches Tobermory gin

Tobermory Distillery, known for their Tobermory and Ledaig Single Malt whiskies, has created the first gin in the distillery's 200-year history.

Published 19th Aug 2019
Updated 31 st Oct 2023

Named after the capital of Mull, Tobermory Gin has been created using inspiration from the island, the second largest of the Inner Hebrides, located off the west coast of Scotland.

Tobermory is known for its brightly coloured houses, which surround the island and have become one of the most iconic sights of Scotland.

Tobermory is the only whisky distillery on the Isle of Mull, and the distiller team were keen to expand their  skills and produce their first gin.

It was especially important for them to create something truly original and unique so when the opportunity arose to secure a redundant John Dore & Co copper still from South Africa, the time felt right.

The still, built in the 1950’s, was sourced and shipped to Scotland for refurbishment and installation.

Work had to be done on the distillery itself to accommodate the new still, converting a store area and upstairs office into a still-house, allowing the opportunity to maximise the length of the still neck, which helps to influence the light, vibrant character of the spirit produced.

Starting as a blank canvas, the base spirit is distilled over and over until it is clean, fresh and ready to take on the vibrant array of flavours from the island’s rich palate.

Unique to Tobermory gin, a splash of spirit from the Tobermory whisky stills is added, creating a standout spirit.

Named ‘botanical #1’, hours of hard work and experimentation were involved in creating the perfect balance, which the team say makes Tobermory Gin so special.

Further to this a pinch of Hebridean tea, grown locally on Mull is added along with thirteen botanicals including juniper, elderflower and sweet orange peel to create Tobermory gin’s flavour profile.

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Tobermory gin
Picture: Tobermory gin

All are picked in season to strengthen and enhance the flavour profile, and are steeped for at least 24 hours in the base spirit.

These botanicals reflect the fruity character that Tobermory is known for in their single malt whisky.

Distilled in the restored John Dore & Co copper pot still, Tobermory Gin has the perfect balance of fruity and floral notes with the malty full mouthfeel of newly distilled whisky spirit.

On the nose, notes of fresh juniper are balanced with citrus and coriander, with a touch of rich maltiness, from the specially created Botanical #1.

At 43.3% ABV, Tobermory gin is best served in a balloon glass with ice, topped with chilled tonic water.

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The taste of fresh juniper balanced with sweet orange and lemon comes through clearly, with hints of coriander and gentle herbs and spices.

Garnished which a sprig of thyme, a slice of fresh bloodred orange and a dash of dried hibiscus flowers, the finish is long, fresh and citrusy.

Stephen Woodcock, Distillery Manager at Tobermory Distillery said: “Tobermory Distillery is one of the oldest distilleries in Scotland, producing one of the oldest Single Malts.

"We’ve got a track record of producing different spirit types, though we’d never tried to make gin, until now, and we’re really pleased with the result.

Tobermory Gin is the first established Single Malt distillery to use their name on a gin.

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"Using a splash of spirit from our famous whisky stills, along with a mix of botanicals, some hand foraged on the island, Tobermory Gin really is something different, with an interesting story to tell as well as a high quality and unique spirit. I’m confident both gin and whisky drinkers alike will enjoy a taste of magical Mull.”

Known for cake making, experimental jam recipes, Champagne, whisky and gin drinking (and the inability to cook Gnocchi), Rosalind is the Food and Drink Editor and whisky writer for The Scotsman, as well as hosting Scran, The Scotsman's food and drink podcast.
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