LMdW Artist Series #12 – The Fierce Ledaig 15+ year

The last La Maison du Whisky’s Artist Series #12 at Paris Whisky Live 2022 I sampled was a move to Tobermoray distillery with a heavily peated whisky. I knew this was the one to close – after this, anything subtle or nuanced would be lost without a proper palate cleanser! And it didn’t disappoint!

What more do the folks at LMdW have to say (courtesy of Google translate)?

  • Nose : rich, concentrated. Particularly intense and evocative, the first nose reveals a rather dry compact peat, rooty and at the same time of great elegance. Then, aromas of cherries in eau-de-vie and apricot highlight the quality of aging in sherry casks, very well integrated. Allowed to breathe, the aromatic palette becomes increasingly heady (lily, freesia), exotic (mango, persimmon) and superbly chocolaty. The whole shows a radiant harmony.
  • Appearance : orange copper.
  • Palate : lively, tempestuous. Percussive, the attack on the palate is a faithful synthesis of the nose. Very quickly, however, an increasingly chocolatey and above all more saline peat takes things in hand. In the mid-palate, it takes on medicinal (arnica), camphorated, animal (bacon) and empyreumatic (sandalwood, chimney fire) tones. The finish suggests a distillate with fruity (raspberry) and lemony flavors.
  • Overall : long, deep. Marked by notes of slightly damp earth, the start of the finish is subtly floral (poppy, cornflower, violet). The peat has calmed down, becoming more liquoricey and finely peppery. With its flavors of curry and ylang-ylang, the aftertaste is undeniably oriental. In the retro-nasal olfaction, once again very present, peat occupies the center of the palate, allowing the deliciously sweet juice of a ripe apricot to flow. The empty glass is nobly spiced (cardamom, saffron, ginger)

And this concludes my journey through the Artist Series #12 with:

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Winnipeg Cabinet’s Ledaig 10 year 46.3%

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?

Ledaig 10

Ledaig 10 year 46.3%

  • 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.

More importantly, what did the lads over at The Cabinet have to say when they first sampled it?

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:

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Ledaig 1997 46% (Gordon + MacPhail)

The more I explore the offerings from the independent bottler Gordon & MacPhail, the more I want to check out even more.

Ledaig is the peated line from Tobermoray distillery, the only distillery on the Isle of Mull. It was bottled for La Maison du Whisky and I picked it up during a rather enjoyable early evening in Singapore last year.

Ledaig (Whisky Lady)

Ledaig 1997 (Whisky Lady)

Ledaig 1997 Island Cask No 462 46% (Gordon & MacPhail)

  • Colour – Bright gold
  • Nose – Peat, smoke, tincture of iodine, orange, toasty warm, bold
  • Palate – After an initial punch of peat, hint of pepper, mellowed into a lovely elegant lady. The longer it aired the more notes discovered – fruit, more smoke, salty nuts, and more!
  • Finish – Sweet chewy finish, long and smoky, warm spice

This particular Ledaig was distilled in 1997, bottled in 2013 and is from cask no 462 with a total of 312 bottles.

We originally tasted this whisky as part of our monthly tasting sessions on 17 June 2014 together with Tyrconnel and Talisker Dark Storm.

It was definitely the whisky find of the evening. We had great fun with a guessing game of region, distillery… none came close until the hint was dropped that it is actually bottled by an independent company that specialises in bringing unique expressions and smaller distilleries whiskies to the world.

I revisited this whisky again last month… and enjoyed it even more. A delightful dance on the nose and palate. All the earlier flavours brightened and matured.

I added a dash of water and it ramped up the citrus, punched up the spice on the palate but dampened the smoke. Still lovely liquid gold but my vote is to go for it neat.

Definitely a very special dram – one to savour!

What other’s are saying about related whiskies:

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