Tobermory Distillery logo, Isle of Mull, established 1798.

Tobermory Distillery

  • Scotland
  • Whisky of the Year’ by The Whisky Exchange (2021 & 2022), Best Classic Gin at the World Gin Awards
Phone Number
  • +441688302647
  • Tobermory, Isle of Mull PA75 6NR, United Kingdom

Tobermory distillery building, Scottish whisky since 1798.

History of Tobermory Distillery


Founding and Early Years

The Tobermory Distillery, situated on the Isle of Mull in Scotland, was founded in 1798 by John Sinclair. It was initially named Ledaig, a Gaelic term meaning ‘safe haven’. Sinclair’s initial application was for a brewery, but he eventually received approval to establish the distillery.

During its early years, the distillery’s operations were not continuous, facing periods of closure. The first of these closures happened between 1837 and 1878, and the distillery has been silent for more than half of its existence.

Changes in Ownership and Challenges

Throughout its history, Tobermory Distillery has changed hands multiple times. In 1916, it was acquired by the Distillers Company Ltd. The distillery experienced a significant slump during the economic downturn between the World Wars and was closed again from 1930 until 1972. During World War II, the site was used for naval purposes, including as a canteen for sailors.

In 1972, the distillery resumed production under Ledaig Distillery Ltd, a venture involving a Liverpool shipping company, Pedro Domecq, and Panamanian interests.

However, this entity went bankrupt in 1975, leading to another closure. The distillery was later bought by the Yorkshire-based Kirkleavington Property Company Ltd in 1979, but it struggled financially and closed again in 1982.

Revival and Modern Operations

The distillery saw a revival in 1993 when Burn Stewart Distillers purchased the site and its remaining stock, renaming it Tobermory. Under this new ownership, significant investment was made to restart production.

Today, Tobermory Distillers Ltd, a subsidiary of Burn Stewart, operates the distillery. The company, now owned by South African wine and spirits group Distell, produces both Tobermory and Ledaig single malts, with the latter being heavily peated.

Production and Offerings

Tobermory Distillery has a production capacity of one million litres of spirit per year. It uses traditional methods, including a cast iron mash tun, Oregon pine washbacks, and copper-domed stills. The whisky matures in both bourbon whiskey and sherry casks.

The distillery produces two single malt whiskies and a Hebridean gin. Their unpeated Tobermory whisky is made for six months of the year, and the peated Ledaig whisky is produced for the other six months.

Awards Won by Tobermory Distillery

Ledaig 18-Year-Old Whisky: This product has been highly acclaimed, receiving the title of ‘Whisky of the Year’ by The Whisky Exchange. It also secured gold awards at the World Whisky Awards in both 2021 and 2022, where it was named the Best Scotch Islands Single Malt​​.

Tobermory Hebridean Gin: The distillery’s venture into gin production has also been remarkably successful. The Tobermory Hebridean Gin has been recognized with awards, showcasing its quality and popularity in the spirits industry​​.

Tobermory Mountain Gin: This particular gin won the title of World’s Best Classic Gin at the World Gin Awards. This is a significant achievement, given the stiff international competition it faced. The gin, which includes a blend of hand-selected botanicals and a splash of new make spirit from the distillery’s whisky stills, also received the Country Winner award for Scotland​.

Tobermory Distillery Tour Information and Experience

This tour offers a comprehensive insight into the making of Tobermory’s three unique spirits. Visitors are educated about the distillery’s rich history and intricate production process. The highlight of the tour is the tasting session, where guests get to savor two of Tobermory’s award-winning whiskies.

Warehouse 1 Experience

A must-visit for whisky aficionados, the Warehouse 1 Experience is renowned for its exclusivity. It features a special tasting of Tobermory and Ledaig whisky, drawn directly from the cask. Presently, this experience is conducted in the Visitor Centre, adding a unique twist to the traditional warehouse setting.

Gin Tasting Experience

Catering to the diverse preferences of visitors, the distillery has introduced a Gin Tasting Experience. This session allows guests to explore three distinct Tobermory Hebridean gins. The experience is also educational, offering insights into the gin crafting process and the creative inspirations behind each variant.

Tobermory And Ledaig Whisky Tastings

Focusing on the distillery’s signature single malt whiskies, this tasting experience guides guests through the subtle flavors and characteristics of Tobermory and Ledaig. The journey includes tasting from their core range as well as limited edition and distillery exclusive releases, highlighting the differences between peated and unpeated malts.

These experiences at Tobermory Distillery not only provide a chance to indulge in exceptional spirits but also immerse visitors in the distillery’s storied tradition and artisanal excellence. If you need detailed content created around these experiences, perhaps for promotional or informational purposes, let me know and I can assist you further.

Flask & Barrel Review of Tobermory Distillery

As someone who’s visited more distilleries than I can count, I’ve got to say, my experience at Tobermory Distillery was pretty impressive, deserving a solid 4.7 out of 5. Nestled in the charming town of Tobermory on the Isle of Mull, this distillery combines tradition with a unique island flair that you don’t come across every day.

First off, the setting is just picturesque. You’ve got these vibrant harbour-front buildings, making it a feast for the eyes before the whisky even hits your lips. The tour itself was a well-rounded experience. It wasn’t my first distillery tour, but I learned a few new things about whisky making, especially how Tobermory’s location influences their flavours.

The guide was knowledgeable and had a good sense of humour, which always makes these tours more enjoyable. They walked us through the distilling process, and I particularly appreciated how they detailed the influence of local resources – it’s always intriguing to see how a distillery utilises its surroundings.

Now, onto the main event – the whisky tasting. As a collector, I’m always on the lookout for unique flavours, and Tobermory didn’t disappoint. Their unpeated Tobermory and peated Ledaig whiskies both had distinct, complex profiles. The Ledaig, with its smoky character, was a standout for me – it had just the right balance of peat and sweetness.

What To Do Nearby Tobermory Distillery

Walk to Rubha nan Gall Lighthouse: An easy 2 km walk through woodland leading to this scenic lighthouse, offering stunning views of the ocean and surrounding nature. The path starts near Tobermory Lifeboat Station and winds through a beautiful landscape​​.

Mull Aquarium: Europe’s first catch-and-release aquarium, located in Tobermory’s main car park. It’s a unique community venture showcasing local marine life, with all creatures returned to the sea within four weeks​​.

Mull Museum: This compact museum, found on Tobermory’s Main Street, is packed with exhibits that tell the history of the island. It’s an ideal place to learn about Mull’s past and is particularly suitable for a rainy day​​.

Aros Park: Located between Tobermory and Craignure, Aros Park offers a quick yet rewarding 30-minute stroll around Lochan a Ghurrabain. There are also options for a Waterfall Trail and a Coastal Trail leading to Tobermory​​.

Wildlife-Watching Tours: Tobermory is a great starting point for sea safaris to spot Minke Whales, dolphins, eagles, and seals. Various boat tours are available next to the main car park​​.

Boat Trip to Staffa and Treshnish Isles: These tours offer the chance to see Staffa’s famous basalt columns and Fingal’s Cave, as well as the rich wildlife of the Treshnish Isles. Staffa Tours operates several wildlife boat tours from Tobermory​​.

Shopping and Dining in Tobermory: The town offers a variety of independent shops and eateries, perfect for picking up unique gifts and enjoying fresh local seafood​​.

Duart Castle: A 700-year-old castle, home to Clan MacLean, located near the Craignure ferry terminal. Visitors can explore The Great Hall, State Bedrooms, and a clan exhibition​​.

Pennyghael Stores: For a unique coffee experience, visit Pennyghael Stores and enjoy a scenic sip overlooking Loch Scridain​​.

Isle of Mull Tours to Staffa: These tours not only include visiting Fingal’s Cave but also provide opportunities to see puffins and a stop at the Isle of Iona​​.

Frequently Asked Questions

What restaurants are near Tobermory Distillery?

Macgochans: In Tobermory, you’ll find some fantastic dining options with great ratings. Macgochans, a well-regarded restaurant, boasts a 4.3-star rating on Google Maps. If you’re looking to visit or make a reservation, you can contact them at +44 1688 302350. The restaurant is conveniently located at Ledaig Bldg, Tobermory, Isle of Mull PA75 6NR, United Kingdom.

HOOK’ D: Another excellent choice is HOOK’ D, known for its delicious fish & chips. It has an impressive 4.7-star rating. While the contact details are not listed, you can find HOOK’ D at 36 Main St, Tobermory, Isle of Mull PA75 6NU, United Kingdom.

Auld Mull Bar: Lastly, Auld Mull Bar, also highly rated at 4.0 stars, is a great place to dine. Like HOOK’ D, it does not have listed contact details, but you can visit it at Tobermory, Isle of Mull PA75 6RA, United Kingdom.

What hotels are near Tobermory Distillery?

Western Isles Hotel: The Western Isles Hotel, with its stunning views and historic charm, holds a 4.2-star rating on Google Maps. For those wishing to book a stay or inquire further, the hotel can be contacted at +44 1688 302012. It’s located at 64 A848, Tobermory, Isle of Mull PA75 6PR, United Kingdom, making it a convenient choice for travelers.

Tobermory Hotel: Another excellent choice is The Tobermory Hotel, also rated at 4.2 stars. This hotel offers a cozy and welcoming atmosphere, perfect for those seeking a more intimate lodging experience. You can reach them at +44 1688 302091 for reservations or inquiries. The Tobermory Hotel is situated at 53 Main St, Tobermory, Isle of Mull PA75 6NT, United Kingdom.

Park Lodge Hotel: This family-run hotel, known for its bright and quaint charm, has earned a 4.2-star rating on Google Maps. Conveniently located at Strongarbh, Western Rd, Tobermory, Isle of Mull PA75 6RA, United Kingdom. For reservations or further inquiries, you can contact Park Lodge Hotel at +44 1688 302430.