Ledaig 7 (The Whisky Exchange)

Ledaig 7Okay, let’s do one more young Ledaig to bring the run of reviews of peated whiskies to a close. This one, like the 6 yo from Blackadder that I liked so much, is also from a sherry cask. It was bottled by the Whisky Exchange for the 2013 iteration of their annual whisky show. Oddly, they don’t note a vintage. As to whether this means that this was a vatting or that it’s merely in keeping with the “retro label” that this bottle (and others released at the show) sported, I don’t know. And frankly I’m not so very interested to find out.

Ledaig 7 (59.4%; sherry matured; from a sample received in a swap)

Nose: You’re never going to believe it but there’s farmy, organic peat notes in this! No rotting rodents though, just a lot of partially composted leaves. Quite a bit of salt too and some pipe tobacco. It’s not as clearly sherried as the Blackadder 6 yo but there are sweet fruit notes here too: plums, a little bit of orange peel, some raisins. More pastry/baked notes with time. The vegetal peat and the fruit marry surprisingly well with time. With water the citrus comes out in front but there’s still a lot of smoke (with more charred meat now).

Palate: Leads with the sweet fruit but there’s a tanker full of ashy smoke behind it (“Why would smoke be in a tanker?” Ed.). On the second sip there’s a lot more tar and charred meat and the fruit sort of disappears into the darkness. More salt and lemon on the third sip. More dark sweet notes folowing but I’m having trouble getting more specific than that–maybe caramel? Remarkably drinkable at full strength with a rich texture. Okay, let’s see if water unlocks more of the sherry. Well, it certainly pulls more citrus out and makes it spicier–but the tar is still there. With a little more time there’s some apricot too (charred apricot).

Finish: Medium-Long. A lot of smoke and salt but no new developments. Water keeps the brighter, spicier notes from the palate going, pushes back the salt, and really lengthens the finish; brings out some caramel too.

Comments: This is a bit of a beast with the unending waves of smoke. Neat, the sherry influence is clearer on the nose than on the palate; it’s a little more pronounced with water, but in general plays a muted second fiddle to the smoke–at least compared to the Blackadder 6 yo. There’s also no sulphur here, unlike in that one. Still, as good as this is, I preferred the Blackadder.

Rating: 87 points.

Thanks to gimmeadram for the sample!

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