Ledaig. On Reddit, that place where bad and good things happen, I’m the third most prolific reviewer of Ledaig. Last I checked. Let’s do that now, before I screw up and put my foot in my mouth, again.
Alright, it basically backs me up. I think. Who knows if people have been archiving?
Whatever. When it comes to Ledaig, I’m happy to not be the leader. I want to enjoy them and have some fun with them.
Ledaig is the peated spirit from Tobermory distillery. Tobermory, which used to be called Ledaig. Also Tobermory, the place where a lightly peated Tobermory may be a Ledaig and an accidentally marked down Ledaig may be an unpeated Tobermory and screw you this is all tough stop judging.
Thus we have 6 samples of the funky peated whisky from the Island. How did they taste? Let’s see, shall we?
Ledaig 7 2009 Signatory Vintage Collection – Cask Strength is up first, and joins its similar bottles in a recent tasting that sadly I missed. This was picked out by Binny’s, before that picked out by Signatory, and before that made by Tobermory, and then they decided they needed room and it can’t be used in one of their current vattings.
Got all that? Great, you get IBs now. Let’s see how it tastes as a reward.
Price: Sold out
Cask Number: 700312
Cask Type: Hogshead
Number of Bottles: 303
Colour: 2.5GY 9/6
Nose: Butter cookies, fresh wood, smokey bacon, Oreo, prawns, guava
Nice buttery, sweet note, along with some wood. Sounds like a walk in the park, right?
Then you’re hit with bacon and cocoa biscuits. And that keeps hitting you over and over. Nice sweetness, more strong briny notes hit, as well as tropical fruit. All in all a lot going on in a youthful whisky, though the strong wood notes remind yu of that.
Taste: Brown sugar, lime juice, jalapeno vinegar, peanut brittle, anise
Less going on here than before. Some acidity, some more acidity, and some heat. Lovely nuttiness going on with water, but you have to get past a youthful and strong dram in the way.
With some water, it’s calmed down enough to enjoy the flavour.
Finish: Buttery, orange juice, nori, anise cookie
Back to some butter and a balanced amount of acidity. Also, we have that brine note back. Doesn’t really hang around too long.
Conclusion: Amazing nose. Goes downhill from there. Don’t get me wrong. I liked that nose a lot, and most of my score reflects that. And the finish teased at something similar. However… holy damn is this hot. And has some trouble going on in the taste.
If you grabbed this particular whisky when you had a chance, you’ll probably have a good time with it. It’s got a lot going on and then a bunch of heat to blast that away. I’m happy to have tried this. Wouldn’t have been angry to had a bottle. But happy I only had a sample.
Ledaig 10 2004 Signatory Vintage Single Cask Seasons – Winter 2014 is a Signatory whisky brought in by Kirsch Imports. Seems they liked their seasons. Which for any of you living in California, that’s where the season changes and it’s not because your house is on fire.
It’s funny and sad because it’s true and we live in a dystopia.
Suffice to say, they can name their whisky however they want. A rose would smell just as sweet if called poop-not-great-smelly-no-goods. It’s still first filled sherry Ledaig. So let’s stick it in our face holes and see how it tastes, shall we?
Price: Sold out
Cask Type: 1st Fill Sherry Butt
Cask Number: 900169
Number of Bottles: 587
Colour: 10YR 5/8
Nose: Orange, cloves (reminds me of hot cider), orange Pekoe tea, sour cream doughnut, water adds more cinnamon doughnut
If you’re a fan of cinnamon and cloves, and tannic notes then you’ll be in luck here. Starts lightly at first. Sherry cask is really pushing on this one. Water opens up more to the funk/sour cream, and water makes it more cake-y.
Taste: Cinnamon, ginger, apple syrup, raspberry, sourdough / With water: passionfruit funk, honey
More cinnamon, more heat. Acting less like a high proof sherry bomb now and more like a mix of spice and strong fruit/funk. Some acidity to balance it out.
Water brings out a ton of funk and dry/sweet/floral aspects. Really changes up.
Finish: Cinnamon, cloves, lemon-lime, brown sugar / With water: honeydew melon, brine, baked apple
Long finish. More of the strong spice, less complexity on the acidity and sugar. Water really helps it match what it was before in complexity. Lovely baked apples at the end there.
Conclusion: Cinnamon baked goods. I’m a sucker for them. Really this time of year I’m in seventh heaven. I just found out Somali food uses cinnamon and you bet your ass I’m looking up some recipes.
This is spices, spices, spices. It rounds it out with apples and fruit to balance it. The nose goes in a sherry heavy, tannic direction, but the rest is all spiced desserts.
Ledaig 11 2007 Adelphi was brought out at the end of a Scotch tasting. I can’t remember if I’ve written up that tasting or not. Honestly, once school is done I’m gonna try and catch up, but I’m sorry I’ve let any fans of these writeups down.
Anyway, I realized that my tastebuds were quite knackered at this stage of the tasting, so I poured myself a takeaway sample.
This is a cask strength refill sherry Ledaig aged for 1 year more than the last one. And given Adelphi’s love of brevity, that’s all we know. So let’s get down to it, shall we?
Price: N/A at the LCBO
Cask Type: Refill Sherry
Cask Number: 8000002
Colour: 7.5Y 9/8
Nose: Lemoncello, brine, wildflowers, cocoa
Really strong sweet lemon note. Lots of alcohol and brine as well. Eventually opens up to floral cocoa notes. Some earth.
If I’m to compare this to most other Ledaig, it’s a bit shy. And re-reading that makes me feel like a creep. Fuck. Alright, it’s a less strong nose. You know, not like an elephant. Yes, that sounds less insane.
Taste: Butter, hot, very floral, lemon pudding, bug spray
Initially all you get is hot and buttery. Eventually that subsides and is replaced with a too-strong floral note. Very hard to get past it all.
Water opens up to lemon pudding, but then it goes straight chemical DDT. Lots of ups and downs.
Finish: Butterscotch, brine, honeydew melon, passionfruit, leather, grass
Finish finally calms the hell down and gets to the point. Best part of the whole thing. Great leather note, wonderful funk, good fruit, and excellent brine to round it all out.
Conclusion: Hot and weird flavours. Brash, odd, lovely in some ways, rough in others, not totally in love with it but not angry with it either. I really have a hard time reviewing it too.
I mean, one second you have a soft nose that would be screaming a Lowland, then you have a taste that tastes young, unpeated and a mess. The finish follows up with something more accurate to Ledaig or Tobermory.
This won’t taste like any other Ledaig you have had. I do love Lowlands. If you don’t, this isn’t one you should buy. Certainly shows the different profiles you can get from the distillery.
Ledaig 11 2005 Signatory Cask Strength Collection (Cask 900159) is a sister cask of a sister cask of other Ledaig I had. I had one, someone mentioned they had the sister, we talked about it, I feel this sentence could become creepy, and here we are.
My own inability to communicate and the fourth wall breaking discussion aside, this is the third from these Ledaig casks that came out. And I’m pretty sure there’s many more. I’m very happy and feel very privileged to have tried three.
Let’s see how this one squares off with it’s siblings, shall we?
Price: Sold out
Vintage: November 8th, 2005
Bottled: May 26th, 2017
Cask Type: 1st Fill Sherry Butt
Cask Number: 900159
Number of Bottles: 652
Colour: 2.5Y 6/8
Nose: Brine, smoke, farmy, apple-cinnamon
Initially some brine and smoke. Doesn’t feel that well developed when you start, needs some time.
Given said time you get more and more farminess. For those of you who haven’t been on a farm ever… that’s not easy to explain. Have you ever accidentally walked into a garden centre during fertilizer time? It’s that. It’s a mixture of manure and hay. Also maybe leave the city every so often you sheltered weirdo.
Oh and some spice and apple with wwater too.
Taste: Farmy, apple, cinnamon, rough cereal, banana
More farm. See above if you’re still not leaving the house, loner.
Farm takes the main spotlight, sure, but it’s spice and apple as well to start. Water opens up more of a rough cereal note and banana. Doesn’t really get beyond the farm though, unlike you, you closeted sucker.
Finish: Lime, cereal, cinnamon, anise, more farm, basil, cocoa
Finish starts off with a better cereal note and good sweet/citrus note. Lovely spice.
Water, of course, brings back the farm bomb and then adds more farm. Also some earth/sweets. Which is nice. But yeah, farm
Conclusion: A farm bomb. Like being Biff in the second Back to the Future movie, except you’re not in charge of the US right now because we all stopped learning from movies before the 80s. Because we’re idiots. Well, not me, I’m Canadian…. Oh, wait I live in Ontario. Nevermind.
Where was I? Oh, yeah, a ton of manure. Just a shitload. Literally. It’s unbalanced. However maybe you’re into that. There’s spice, earth moments, sweetness, and nice citrus. But all of that is under a farm. So while not my favourite, maybe that’s yours. If earth gets you wet in happy places, go for it.
Ledaig 13 Amontillado Cask Finish is an oddity for me. An OB from a distillery. I either reviewed a bunch or they tend to be a bit more pricey.
That said there was a recent tasting. And to be that guy who gives the same excuse, class/work I’m super busy. So I ended up with a sample. Reviewed it later. Guess I’m the weirdo not getting out now.
So Ledaig 13 Amontillado Cask Finish is a limited edition release that was… finished in Amontillado Sherry casks. These crazy guys hiding behind names.
We don’t get to see many Amontillado casks. It’s darker than fino but lighter than Oloroso. Different. Always fun to try something interesting. Let’s see how this is, shall we?
Price: Sold out
Cask Type: Ex-bourbon then Amontillado Sherry Cask Finish
Colour: 2.5Y 7/10
Nose: Old strawberries, orange zest, light caramel, limes
Immediately some funk. I do enjoy funk. And soul. But enough about music.
Funk, some orange. I want to say that orange shows up with Amontillado but I haven’t had enough Amontillado finished whiskies so I’ll say it showed up last time too.
That’s nice. A bit of light caramel. No farm or smoke or peat though, oddly. Sherry has taken over here.
Taste: 7-Up, farmy/hay, caramel, peanut butter, smoke
Okay, now we’re in weird country. Sugary lemon/lime, caramel, some hay dominant farm (think above but grassier and drier). Then water brings out peanut butter and a straight smoke.
It’s really pushing in some younger directions, but then it has that creamy/sugary side.
Finish: Butter, orange concentrate, lemon-lime, peanuts
Buttery and orange focused. I’m starting to think Amontillado whiskies are citrus forward. Or that I’m wrong and have just had a couple and they happened to be like that.
Water brings out some rich peanut flavours.
Conclusion: Rich, unique, odd flavours. The whole thing keeps going back to a nutty/creamy/rich note. And a lot of citrus notes. I’m not the biggest citrus fan when it’s mixed with things, so I think I was happier with this one.
That said, you are missing out on what makes a Ledaig unique here. Yes, there’s some funk, there’s some farm, and it never hits that “is this still a whisky” level which I unique-y don’t like and no one else cares about and maybe someone keeps bringing up when I drink with him.
Suffice to say I’m not loving this as much as I would. It’s not bad, it’s certainly unique, and I think if it was named anything else I probably wouldn’t be as harsh. Ignore it’s peated, ignore everything else, enjoy the ride, add more points if citrus makes you randy.
Ledaig 18 Spanish Sherry Cask Finish is a special release for all the people who were able to make it out to Tobermory. I assume it’s something out of Moby Dick in travels, or perhaps Old Man and the Sea. Certainly not Deep Blue Sea.
So after you fight the sea monsters and come ashore, you’re able to buy this whisky directly at the distillery. Well not for the last two years, they’ve been closed, but some other time.
So what does an 18 year old Ledaig taste when it’s finished in sherry casks and selected as a special distillery only? Let’s find out, shall we?
Price: Distillery only
Cask Type: Ex-Bourbon then finished in Spanish Sherry Casks
Colour: 5YR 4/8
Nose: Red licorice, peach pie, farmy, grass, currants
Initial balance of the sherry and some developed spice and peat. Good cooked fruit, lovely butter, and some farm notes. Good balance.
Water cleans it up a bit with some more rich red fruit and grass notes.
Taste: Banana, black licorice, caramel, ham, lime, raspberry cordial
Funk goes to banana, less red fruit at first. There’s a bit meaty and caramel note. It’s really clean for a Ledaig.
Water brings out more acidity and sugar/tart.
Finish: Caramel, cloves, cocoa, sprite, raisins, blueberry
Finish almost does too much earth/sweet/spice. Takes some time to get used to it, and the caramel doesn’t really do enough to balance it out.
Water luckily fixes that with some rich fruit, however I think it’s gone a bit muted.
Conclusion: Fruity, cleaner than other Ledaigs, lighter sherry influence. This certainly shows a different view of Ledaig versus what we saw before. It’s really clean. I don’t know if I’m enjoying that side, but perhaps that what happens with time.
I wish there was a bit more chocolate or rougher note to this. The finish is unbalanced. I still want to take the potentially treacherous travel on a four-masted schooner to visit what I assume are the now Morlock like people who work there on whisky in exchange for fish heads and rudementary tools.
Or perhaps they are normal people and I’m just an asshole.
Scotch reviews #1147-52, Island review #127-32, Whisky reviews #1769-74