As long-time readers (the few, the imaginary) know, I am not generally a fan of wine-finished whiskies. But I am a fan of giving things a chance if they don’t cost too much. Here therefore is a young Ledaig distilled in 2007 and finished in Pomerol casks. How many Pomerol casks, I’m not sure. The bottle label lists three cask numbers with a total outturn of 689 bottles. That would seem like three bourbon hogsheads worth. So either three bourbon casks got emptied into a large Pomerol cask or each ended up in a separate Pomerol cask before being vatted for bottling. I’d guess the latter as I think only the cask(s) that last held the spirit can be listed on the label. However it was made, I got two ounces from a bottle split last year. I’ve recently had a number of high quality young Ledaigs from around this period and it seemed like a decent bet. It’s still available, by the way.
Ledaig 10, 2007 (58%; Chieftain’s; Pomerol wine finish; from a bottle split)
Nose: That big organic, dead rodent Ledaig peat, with orange peel and dried, salted nuts. Not much sign of the red wine, my many-armed gods be praised! There’s more char with time and more savoury, meaty notes (no longer just the rotting rodent). A few drops of water brighten the smoke up but also pull out some perfumed notes.
Palate: Not much sign of the wine here either, I am glad to report, except for a sweeter than usual rounding off of the smoke and the usual Ledaig peat funk. Very drinkable at full strength. More phenolic with each sip. The peat gets earthier with water but there’s also a cloying red fruit sweetness that begins to emerge now.
Finish: Long. The smoke keeps expanding and gets more phenolic. Much sweeter here too with water.
Comments: Somehow the wine finish works here. It is good to not be too dogmatic (though I’m not sure I like it enough to get a full bottle). Better neat, I thought.
Rating: 87 points.