Here is another recent Whisky Exchange exclusive and it too is a peated whisky matured in a sherry cask. This is a Ledaig and a bit younger than Friday’s Laphroaig 21 (which you may recall I found to be outstanding). I don’t dare hope that this one will be as good but there has been a lot of excellent sherried Ledaig about in the last half decade. I suppose there must have been some that I tried and did not like but I can’t recall any and am too lazy to open another window and check. (Before the pandemic this was a character flaw; now it is a sign of my humanity.) Anyway, let’s see what this is like.
Ledaig 13, 2005 (57.4%; The Whisky Exchange; sherry butt 900174; from a sample from a friend)
Nose: Earthy peat, salt, preserved lime. On the second sniff the classic organic, farmy Ledaig notes are here though not as much of the dead rodent as is often present. The salt expands with each sniff as does the lime but it also picks up some sweetness. Nothing new as it sits but it all comes together really well. A few drops of water bring out some pastry crust and cream.
Palate: As promised by the nose but richer with some dark chocolate and coffee grounds in there with the smoke—tarrier here than on the nose. Very approachable at full strength. The smoke expands with each sip, with the tar turning to char. Saltier here too with time. Okay, let’s see. what water does. It brings out some pencil lead and more char.
Finish: Long. The smoke and the salt and the chocolate and the coffee fade slowly, picking up some cracked black pepper as they go. As on the palate with water.
Comments: From the nose to the finish, this is really classy stuff: a perfect marriage of peat and sherry. Not the most complexity or development but that’s not unexpected at 13 years of age. I’m tempted to say that of distilleries putting out peated, sherried whisky now, these sherry casks from Ledaig may be the most consistent bet. Unusually for me, I liked this better neat despite the high strength.
Rating: 90 points.
Thanks to Billy for the sample.