This is my third encounter with Ledaig from Tobermory distillery on the Isle of Mull however earlier tasting were with more mature avatars:
I had no idea the Ledaig 10 year would be part of our Cabinet Peat session… and had already on my Winnipeg trip enjoyed a dram (or two) after persuading my sister’s partner to pick up a bottle during our Liquor Mart jaunt.
My reason for suggesting it remains – it is an affordable, eminently drinkable peaty dram. It may not be the most sophisticated, complex or nuanced whisky out there but it is well made and good value for money. One you can simply kick back and enjoy with friends.
So what did I find with the Cabinet lads?
- Nose – Wet dog fur, curd, faint leather, fresh-cut watermelon rind, grass, sweeter as it opens without loosing its briney salty quality
- Palate – Exceedingly… nay almost dangerously drinkable, warm, peaty, chewy leather strap, not as sweet as I remembered the more mature Ledaig’s as being, yet oh so easy to keep sipping…
- Finish – A bit astringent, dry, phenol, smoke, some peppercorns and dry sweet spices
Overall pronounced to be akin to a rather good entry level Islay. Though technically it is from the Highland Island sub-region… but who is quibbling…
What do the distillery folks have to say?
- Nose – Sweet briny smokiness with distinct island character and playful notes that hint at mild antiseptic, creosote, wax polish, mint chocolate and floral seaside aromas. Soft peat, gentle smoke.
- Palate – Tantalisingly sweet, medicinal flavours infused with enticing sparks of spicy pepper and dried fruit with rich peaty smoke and a velvety vanilla and malty creaminess.
- Finish – A wondrous union of sublimely spicy white pepper, the vibrant sweetness of liquorice and a kick of cloves with a exquisite lingering saltiness.
Next was the Ledaig 10 year old, which won “Best Islands Single Malt”. Being an Islands malt it is very different, and thus perhaps not to everyone’s personal taste, but as far as the distiller’s craft within the style goes, this hits the mark.
In fact it compares favourably to the standard bearers such as Laphroaig (I know, obviously an Islay, not an “Islands”, but the flavour profile is very similar). If you enjoy the smoky nose and the salt tang with a touch of creosote on the palate, then consider the Ledaig as an alternative to Laphroaig. Let us be clear, we love Laphroaig, but sometimes you may just want to have something different on hand.
Surprise your whisky drinking guests. Take one small sideways step out of your comfort zone. Live a little. The Ledaig scored 6.7, also a good Three Drams.
Also sampled at the Winnipeg’s Cabinet ‘peat’ evening:
- Rosebank 21 year (1990/2011) 53.8%
- Ledaig 10 year 46.3% (this post)
- Talisker Storm 45.8%
- Paul John Peated 55.5%
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