On Friday I had a review of a heavily sherried Ledaig, an 11 yo from 2005. Here now is another heavily sherried Ledaig, a 10 yo from 2004. It is from the same series of casks of sherried Ledaigs that emerged a couple of years ago. Interestingly, despite having been distilled the previous year this has a higher cask number 900170 to the 2005’s 900162. A while ago I’d reviewed another of these 10 yo casks from 2004—that one was 900176. Now, I know that distilleries usually restart their cask numbering every year but it seems very coincidental that casks filled a year later, and in turn bottled a year later, should have numbers in the same range. The more likely explanation may be that these are Signatory’s cask numbers. They may have acquired a parcel of sherried Ledaigs from 2004 and 2005 and re-numbered them in this 900xxx series. It does appear from Whiskybase that all the 90014x, 90015x, 90016x and 90017x casks were either released by Signatory or outfits Signatory is said to be the source for (van Wees, LMDW). And they all seem to date from 2004 or 2005. Well, this may not be a very interesting mystery but if you do know the answer or have a better theory, please write in below.
Ledaig 10, 2004 (61.3%; Signatory; first fill sherry butt 900170; from a bottle split)
Nose: Richly sherried with sweet tobacco, brandied raisins and a big wave of smoke (both phenolic and woody). As it sits there are drier notes of graphite and oak and then some charred, sweet pork. With more time there’s an inky note as well. Remarkable how expressive this is at such a high strength. But in a bit we’ll see what water does. It brings out softer fruit—plum, apricot—and also some saddle leather; all the other stuff is still here but it’s better integrated now.
Palate: Everything from the nose along with some dried orange peel and quite a bit of salt. Very drinkable at full strength. With time the citrus gets more acidic and there’s some cracked pepper mixed in as well. Okay, time to add some water. With water there’s bacon and maple syrup and ash.
Finish: Long. The smoke and the salt are the main story here and the salt expands with every sip. Less salty with water and all that good stuff from the palate shows up as well. As it fades it gets more earthy.
Comments: Oh, this is good stuff. That was obviously a very good run of casks. This was unusually expressive on both the nose and palate at full strength but water takes it to the next tier.
Rating: 90 points.