I reviewed an antique Ledaig from Alambic Classique last month, and mentioned in the review that while younger Ledaigs do not generally have good reputations I’ve recently had a few good ones from some indie bottlers. This is one of those, a 9 yo from a sherry butt, bottled by Whisky Doris. I don’t know if there’s been any sort of change in the production process/cask selection regime at Tobermory/Ledaig or if it’s just the case that more single casks are coming on the market but the malt’s reputation seems to be on the upswing.
Ledaig 9, 2001 (50.5%; Whisky Doris, refill sherry butt; from a reference sample saved from my own bottle)
Nose: Sharp, acidic peat; not phenolic so much as farmy/organic (something organic rotting in a wet heap of peat). Some burning rope/sack cloth, and also a kind of rooty sweetness. After a bit it begins to get coastal with salty sea air, and there’s now some iodine under the sweet/farmy peat. With time a lot of the acidic bite burns off and now it’s mostly the sweet farmy peat front and center with some salt dancing around the edges. Not much change at first with water; but with some time there’s some toffee and a hint of milky coffee.
Palate: Sweet peat at first but quite acidic and sharp a second later. Then a lot of salt and dry campfire smoke. Begins to get quite medicinal/carbolic at the end. Where’s the sherry? Will water bring it out? No, not really. Probably very little sherry influence left in the cask.
Finish: Long; the phenolic stuff continues. Just when the phenols seem to be giving out a truckload of salt arrives and perks them back up. Water doesn’t do much for the finish either; maybe a little more sweetness.
Comments: A quite assertive and direct young peater. Not really my favourite flavour of peat but a nice change up. (Note: the bottle’s label did not say that this was from a refill butt, but the Whisky Doris website said it probably was; I would tend to agree.)
Rating: 85 points.