Thanks to /u/devoz for pouring this sample for me.
It’s weird: I feel like this is the third time I’ve reviewed a Ledaig that was put into Hermitage casks, however I’m probably (Editor’s Note: Confirmed) thinking of a Caol Ila.
The idea here is pretty simple, and if you check my review of the 2005 vintage you’ll get the whole write-up: Sherry cask Ledaig that is then finished for 3 years in Hermitage ex-red wine casks.
What’s Hermitage? Nothing much, what’s Hermitage with you?
That was terrible. I apologize for nothing and yet still feel bad.
Hermitage is an AOC for wine from the northern Rhône wine region south of Lyon. Mostly red wine from Syrah grapes. Anything more than that will require me to do way more than I’d like here.
It’s a French red wine cask. Check. It’s an Independently bottled Ledaig. Check. Peat and sherry are awesome together. Check. Red wine casks do similar things (typically) as sherry casks. Check.
Seems like a good idea. But was it? For instance it’s not cask strength. And I’ve had some rough stuff picked by Gordo and Macky-boy. So let’s see, shall we?
Price: $99.00 CAD
Bottled: October 8, 2020
Cask type: Refill Sherry Hogshead with 3 years in Hermitage ex-red wine casks
Cask number: 20/074
Number of bottles 4,440
Colour: 10YR 6/8
Nose: Strawberry, charred peaches, grape soda, grapefruit, hazelnut
Fruit, fake fruit, acidity, nutty, and smoke. What else do you need? It’s like being a pirate again, except without government sanction.
As with the last release there’s a lot of flavour packed in here. It’s not an old whisky, nor is it cask strength, but Ledaig and those strong (probably wet) casks are showing up in force. It’s almost overdone on the cask: If this wasn’t peated it would be.
Taste: Lime, floral, cocoa, mint
Woah, woah, woah, hold on: If the nose has a bunch of unique aspects then the taste is the silent kid in class. Still cool to hang with, still nice, but not as bombastic.
Good balance of lime and cocoa. That wins out for me. We need to stop putting orange and chocolate together and give other citrus that doesn’t taste like ass a try.
Finish: Black pepper sauce, cereal, sour pickle, cayenne, lemon
So if the nose was a ton of the red wine/sherry cask influence, the finish heard me and basically decided it’d prove to me that it’s in fact not overdone by the cask and it’s all Ledaig. Like banging your ex this has pros and cons.
I did miss some of the cask influence, though I’d wager the odd acidity is still there from it. On the pro side we have Ledaig, which if that isn’t self evident it’s an amazing flavour of a whisky then y’all need to try or stop buying Ledaig.
It’s sour, has some good heat, some cereal, and a lovely amount of peat influence.
Conclusion: Solid whisky, always worth it. Is it as amazing as some other releases of Ledaig? No, not at all. The taste and finish are simpler, it’s not as consistent, there’s times where the two things we wanted mixed together (peat and sherry) were served apart.
However this is what I’d prefer from non-cask strength whiskies. It’s rough at times but there’s some genuine quality in here. Love the floral, the lime, and the different aspects of peat. Also it’s not going to cost you an arm, a leg, and potentially a foot as well. If this allows people to keep trying peat and sherry together or just another Ledaig on a regular basis (without going to a very low abv.) then I’m all for it.
Scotch review #1457, Island review #156, Whisky Network review #2152