Review: Ledaig 10 Year Old
My first experience with whisky from the Tobermory distillery on the Isle of Mull was a glass of the Ledaig Single Malt a number of years ago. I hadn’t really got into any peated whisky by this stage and to be completely honest I was confused by the whole Ledaig experience. [The Ledaig Single Malt is actually not too bad of a sip and a fantastically priced dram, which you can pick up for less than £20 on most online retailers].
Now, a few years on; I’m older, arguably wiser (no chance!), and less freaked out by new flavour profiles. I had noticed that the “new” Ledaig 10 year old was getting rather a lot of good press. I couldn’t understand why though, thinking back to my first experience of peated Tobermory. It was the wise encouragement of Johanne McInnis, who goes by the alias @Whiskylassie, back in April that eventually encouraged me to revisit this intriguing spirit. If you don’t follow her on twitter or her blog, then do yourself a favour and do that now!
I ended up purchasing a bottle of this for a “Whisky Regions” tasting I hosted in May and enjoyed it so much that I purchased a bottle for myself. It has now made its way to my pile of empty bottles. So they must be doing something right.
Nose: This might split people I think. I’m now a fan of Ledaig, but sometimes find this nose slightly confusing. At times the cheesy note can be a bit too funky for my liking, but with time in the glass its improves. It is nicely balanced. It’s earthy, warm, hints of fruit & nut with overriding oiliness. Some lovely smooth peat present, with some soft smokiness balanced in there too. I find this nose rather organic, especially the peat. More of a farmyard feel than the strong salty, brininess of some of Islay whiskies.
Palate: Oh how I enjoy the palate on this whisky! It arrives boldly, before silently sloping away. Some nice rounded fruit flavours, before becoming rich, salty, and fresh. The smoky and spicy notes envelop tenderly together over the salty seawater and raw charred oak. The peat, like the nose, has more of a farmyard quality with earthy and peppery notes too.
Finish: Medium-long length finish here. Lingers nicely on the tongue before evaporating quickly leaving you with some cigar qualities – ash, smoke and spice. This truly is a fantastic finish.
I have to admit, I was really impressed with this bottle. I was expecting good things, but not to this level. For the price, it is bloomin marvelous. Another quality that makes us all a bit happier is that it is bottled at 46.3%. This higher than usual ABV could be one of the factors that helps this finish flourish. Some would think that adding water would be a must here, but that isn’t the case – this Ledaig provides an incredible smoothness for its ABV. A beautifully peated malt at 46.3% with little harshness or roughness… well done to the guys at Tobermory.
You can pick this bottle up for a smidgen over £30, maybe even under if you search around. It’s a great bottle to experience a different peat profile compared to the heavily peated Islays. If you get a bottle, it won’t last you long. I can promise you that.