I’ve reviewed and praised a number of young, sherry cask Ledaigs (most recently this stunner from Signatory). Here now is a bourbon cask from the same vintage as most of those. This was bottled by the new’ish German outfit, Maltbarn. I guess it might have been more useful to review it while it was still available, but I’ve never really been a very useful person. Let’s get right to it.
Ledaig 9, 2005 (48.1%; Maltbarn; bourbon cask; from a purchased sample)
Nose: Rubbery peat at first but it takes a very quick, sweet turn: sort of a simple syrup sweetness sitting on top of the rubber and vegetal and floral notes. Altogether, somewhat mezcal’ish. With a bit of air there’s some vanilla and also some pepper. With more time the floral/rubbery notes recede and the vanilla is joined by some fruit (apple, lemon) and faint cereally notes. The citrus expands further as it sits. (The peat is present throughout.) As so often happens, the citrus gets muskier with water; more salt too now.
Palate: Ashy, leafy smoke right off the bat. Some lime below that. Not much vanilla here at first. The mouthfeel is just a bit too thin. On the second and third sip the citrus expands (still lime, not lemon, and quite zesty). Pepper here now too. Gets thinner still with time. Okay, let’s see if water brings it back. Well, it emphasizes the smoke over the citrus and makes it more phenolic but the flavours get thinner still (and the smoke sharper).
Finish: Long. The ashy smoke lingers a long while; some salt at the very end. As on the palate with water.
Comments: Obviously young but quite good for its age. Just not as good as some of those sherried youngsters. One to drink relatively fast though, and probably without water (though I did like the increased phenolic character on the palate with water).
Rating: 86 points.