Thanks to /u/CatharticIntent for this sample.
This is yet another continuation of my ongoing series that I’m calling “Scotch Malts, Wife’s Selection”, in which my wife goes through my backlog of SMWS (Scotch Malt Whisky Society) samples that I haven’t reviewed yet, pours them blind, and then I review it blind.
I jump around quite a lot on distilleries I drink. When asked “what whisky do you typically drink”, I stare blankly. I have too many samples to have a daily dram. It’s just what I’ve done to myself.
I know, it’s a tough life.
That said, as we’ll see with Ledaig SMWS 42.24 “The bee’s knees…”, I feel a bit more confidence about Ledaig now. A bit. The single cask ones can throw you off. I certainly couldn’t tell them apart if they were, hypothetically, blasted with a smoke gun.
However given these unaltered versions, I’m feeling better about my ability to tell them apart. Mostly. Don’t want to get cocky.
So this is yet another 9 year old, ex-bourbon cask from SMWS. One of four in the mystery pile. Let’s see how it tastes, shall we?
Price: Sold out
Date Distilled: October 2006
Age: 9 years
Cask Type: Refill ex-bourbon barrel
Colour: 10Y 9/6
Nose: A fish market, lots of funk, leather, orange zest, a bathtub full of limeade (a lot of it, not the smell of the bathtub), grass
Big, brash, beefy (not like beef) flavours here. Blasts you in the nose. What they didn’t tell you is the rest of the name is “to your face”.
Have to give this some time. It’s very much big flavours that can turn you off if you don’t give it some time.
Taste: Chocolate, caramel, cloves, lime pie, musty
If the nose was bashing you about, the taste is giving you some sweets and puddings to make up for it. It’s like some violent, horrible bully baker.
Suffice to say, I enjoy the taste. The citrus here is the best developed aspect.
Finish: Lemon pie, chives, cardamon, leather, tobacco, funk, peppery
Finish has more of the sweets at first, then spice, and then back to aspects of that bully nose.
The whole thing trips you up quite a bit.
Conclusion: The lime gives this one away as a Ledaig. That and the lack of ash meaning it wasn’t a Caol Ila. The whole thing is confusing.
If the taste and finish were more like the nose or the nose more like the others, then this would get a much, much higher score. As it stands, this is both the best and rough aspects of a young whisky. The best? Those brash, amazing flavours you get. The worst? The lack of consistency.
So there you go. Maybe I get Ledaig now. Or maybe I don’t. But this is clearly a Ledaig, and if you enjoy that distillery, it’s a must buy.
Guess: Ledaig, because I figured out the lime part
Actually: Ledaig SMWS 42.24 “The bee’s knees”
Scotch review #823, Island review #98, Whisky Network review #1334