Tobermory distillery

Islands Single Malt Scotch Whisky

It is likely that in its earliest incarnation Ledaig was a peated malt, but in more recent times both peated and unpeated whisky has been made and bottled as both Ledaig and Tobermory. Thankfully, this has now been resolved with Ledaig now only being used for the heavily-peated variant. Equal amounts of both styles are currently being made.

The fermentation time is relatively short, but it is the unusually shaped stills which lie at the heart of the Tobermory style. They have both boil bulbs and a strange S-shaped kink in their lyne arms, all of which increases reflux.

Today, the single malt bottlings are non-chill-filtered and bottled at 46.3% abv.

  • Region
  • Production type
    Single malt
  • Distillery Status
  • Brands produced here

Tobermory History

Mull’s capital may have been built by the Stevensons of Oban [see Oban], but Tobermory’s distillery has had a more chequered career than its mainland relative and with considerably more unusual owners.

It was established, as Ledaig, in 1798 by John Sinclair but like many small sites, the business foundered and it seems to have been silent between 1837 until 1878 when, after a succession of owners, it was finally brought within the DCL estate in 1916. It continued to produce until 1930 when it fell silent for over four decades.

A belated member of a group of old distilleries which were recommissioned in the post-war whisky boom, it was brought back in 1972 by a somewhat unusual joint venture between a Liverpool shipping company, Sherry producer Pedro Domecq and “Panamanian interests”. This unusual arrangement only lasted for three years, although the new owners renovated the distillery and increased capacity.

A short further period of silence ended when a property firm based in Cleckheaton, Yorkshire bought it with the intention of converting some of the buildings to holiday accommodation. Others were used as a facility for storing cheese. It closed again in 1982 for 11 years when its current owner, Burn Stewart (now part of South African giant Distell), purchased it.


  • 1798 Local kelp merchant John Sinclair founds Ledaig distillery on Mull
  • 1823 The distillery is officially licensed
  • 1837 Ledaig distillery closes for 40 years, not reopening again until 1878
  • 1881 The distillery is licensed to W Campbell & Co
  • 1890 Ledaig passes into the hands of John Hopkins & Co
  • 1916 DCL takes over John Hopkins & Co.
  • 1930 Ledaig distillery falls silent for over four decades
  • 1972 A Liverpool shipping company, Domecq and 'Panamanian interests' form Ledaig Distillery and reopen the site
  • 1975 Ledaig Distillery files for bankruptcy and the site closes again
  • 1979 Kirkleavington Property purchases the distillery and established Tobermory Distillers, reopening the site
  • 1982 The distillery closes once more as its buildings are transformed into holiday lets and cheese storage facilities
  • 1993 Burn Stewart purchases Tobermory and its stock for £800,000
  • 2002 CL Financial buys out Burn Stewart for £50m
  • 2007 Ledaig 10 Year Old is launched
  • 2013 Burn Stewart is sold to South African group Distell

Tobermory Facts

  • Capacity (mlpa) i
  • Condenser Type i
    Shell and tube
  • Fermentation Time i
  • Filling Strength i
  • Grist Weight (t) i
  • Heat Source i
    Steam heaters
  • Malt Specification i
    Plain malt (Tobermory) maximum 2ppm,
    peated malt (Ledaig) minimum 35ppm
  • Malt Supplier i
  • Mash Tun Material i
    Cast iron body, copper dome
  • Mash Tun Type i
  • New-make Strength i
  • Single Malt Percentage i
  • Spirit Still Charge (l) i
  • Spirit Still Shape i
    Medium with reflux bowls
  • Spirit Still Size (l) i
  • Stills i
  • Warehousing i
    Small warehouse on site for special edition and limited bottlings
  • Wash Still Charge (l) i
  • Wash Still Shape i
    Medium with reflux bowls
  • Wash Still Size (l) i
  • Washback Charge (l) i
  • Washback Size (l) i
  • Washback Type i
  • Washbacks i
  • Water Source i
    Gearr Abhainn
  • Yeast Type i
    Bagged 'M' type strain


Parent company

Current owner

  • Tobermory Distillers

Previous owners

  • Burn Stewart Distillers 1993 - 2013
  • Kirkleavington Property Co 1979 - 1993
  • Domecq 1972 - 1975
  • Distillers Company Limited 1916 - 1972
  • John Hopkins & Co 1890 - 1916
  • W Campbell & Co 1881 - 1890
  • John Hopkins & Son 1878 - 1881
  • John Sinclair 1798 - 1837


Tobermory Distillery
Isle of Mull
PA75 6NR
United Kingdom
Visit Website
+44 1688 302647
Visitor Opening Hours
10am to 5pm
10am to 5pm
10am to 5pm
10am to 5pm
10am to 5pm
10am to 4pm


See also

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