Thanks to /u/the_muskox for this dram.
Peanut butter and jelly. Peanut butter and chocolate. Peanut butter and chicken satay. Heck, peanut butter and just about everything works, except for sex for some. Not everyone has a sex tarp nor likes to have to break out the jif when they want to bone.
What does all of the above have in common, other than a narrowing of my hobbies? Mixing things works, especially when you have good things to start.
So what do you do when you have an okay Ledaig? Or maybe you want to sell Ledaig, but the only way to lower the price is to teaspoon it. It is, in fact, just an okay Ledaig, one that’s 21 years old (typo on the website or the bottle)? I have the answer! You blend it with a slightly older Talisker, of course! And only use a teaspoon.
Now some will point out that we’re mixing a funky, peated, brine whisky with a clean, brine, peated whisky, and that’s not totally what I was talking about at the start. It’s not Surf and Turf, it’s Turf and some more Turf. Or rather Surf and more Surf.
On the other hand, if I order a plate of food and it comes with double the lobster I’m happy. Granted it’s more like if your lobster came with a single crawfish.
Enter Ledaig Hebridean Mulligan 23 1997 Hunter Laing Old Malt Cask, a cask of 23-year-old Ledaig that was teaspooned with Talisker so that the Ledaig name couldn’t go on there. Could they have used Tobermory? Yes, but then it’s still from the same distillery and the silly, silly rules will be broken.
Lovely silly rules for Scotch. I’m so glad they left Lewis Carol’s original rules in place. The requirement for white rabbits to tell the time on whisky is odd but it works.
So this is Ledaig that was aged in ex-bourbon casks for a good amount of time. Oddly enough the write-up on the K&L wines website denotes the Ledaig as being 21-years-old and the Talisker shot being 23-years-old, however this has an older vintage, and an older age, so I’m assuming the person writing it all was tasting to help write.
And that folks is why I write sober and drink drunk. Let’s see how this tastes, shall we?
Region: Island (Technically a Blended Malt what with being a mixture of Ledaig and teaspooned Talisker)
Vintage: April 1997
Bottled: September 2020
Cask type: Refill Hogshead
Cask Number: HL 18069
Number of bottles 202
Bottled for: K&L Wines
Colour: 5Y 8/6
Nose: Toffee, brine, pear, smoke/hamster cage, mesquite, red berries
Rustic sweets, like the ones you buy either from one of those old time villages that you have to go to as a child or from an actual child. Smoke, salt, some fruit, and farmy notes. Very interesting, and literally something to come back to on a regular basis.
Taste: Dark chocolate/Mexican chocolate, cereal, salish, caramel
Spice, bitter chocolate, and really do I have to sell this any more after that? Yes, there’s aspects of cereal and some more smoke/salt, but there’s a reason we buy chocolate, even though it’s mired in blood: We’re addicted to it. This is here, with a lot less blood.
Finish: Brine, ash, toast, roast corn, cracker
So we have this odd mixture of vegetal, smoke, and wood at the start, then an amazing chocolate flavour that’s normally only reserved for Patisserie’s, and then… some light elements?
It’s full of roast, ash, and toast at the end. It burns out, if you will (I’m here all week folks, because we’re under quarantine, try the steak, tip your Uber Eats driver).
Conclusion: The finish is a tad simple, but the rest? Two things that taste great mixed together. Granted one of those things is at a level that it’s impact is only super high if you’re into homeopathic medicine, or as the rest of us call it, expensive bullshit water.
So this is a Ledaig that’s not allowed to be called Ledaig. It does the chocolate, the brine, and the lovely fruit of a Ledaig. It’s cleaner, probably due to the amount of time in the cask.
So assuming you’re one of the people out there who can enjoy the ride and not just the destination, this is worth it.
Scotch review #1476, Island review #158, Whisky Network review #2179