Recommendations are an important feature of whisky as nothing quite beats word of mouth. It’s right up there with being allowed to taste before purchasing in a whisky shop. In this case I was advised and then given a sample, so I couldn’t go wrong with making an informed purchase. The dram in question is pictured above and we’re about to experience just how good it is.
Normally with Ledaig I can take or leave it. Some examples are far too ashy (for want of a better word) and become an acquired taste. It is one of those unfashionable distilleries (ok, I know its not a distillery on its own as such) that doesn’t have much traction amongst the hipster brigade. However I have been noticing a new found confidence and improvement on Mull especially with recent releases. Seeing how they’re owned by the same group that includes one of my favourite distilleries in Deanston, it’s always been one to keep an eye on.
Rewind – yes that’s right if you go looking for Ledaig distillery you won’t find it. Instead Ledaig was the new name given to Tobermory distillery when it reopened in 1972 after a prolonged mothballing period of 42 years. It wasn’t until Burn Stewart took over the distillery in 1993 for a modest sum of £600,000 and decided once again on Tobermory. However the Ledaig name wasn’t consigned to the history books as it is specifically applied to malt from the distillery that is peated in the 30-40ppm range. To give you a comparison, Port Charlotte comes in at around 40ppm, Caol Ila 35ppm and Brora as its finest 40ppm.
Visiting Cadenheads recently, the guys queried whether I had tried the Ledaig from a recent outturn? Given these Cadenhead monthly releases are so good its impossible to keep track of everything, I replied no. Once armed with a wee nip, within 5 seconds I knew to purchase a bottle. In this case, a 20cl Cask End for now but I reckon I’ll be back very soon for the full-sized 70cl as its an excellent whisky!
Distillery: Ledaig (Tobermory)
Bottled: 2015 (23 years old)
Cask: bourbon hogshead
Outturn: 180 bottles
Colour: olive oil
Nose: American Cream Soda, peaches and my favourite in dirty vanilla. A slight minty freshness, hint of cherry then a glass of white wine, ginger and red salad leaves.
Taste: a lovely texture oily and buttery at first. A restrained dirty quality, arguably that ashy feature that dominates many Ledaig’s is far more muted here. After a certain period of maturation the youthful vigour of peat dissipates allowing more flavours to come forth. Apricots and vanilla; a noticeable creamy quality moving into hazelnuts and nougat. A lingering finish.
Overall: pretty much ticks all the boxes in terms of quality and pricing. Snap this unfashionable distillery up before people become wise to these aged whiskies.