Yesterday I had a review of an excellent teenaged Ledaig from a sherry cask. That was a 13 yo bottled by the Whisky Exchange. Today I have a review of another Ledaig from a sherry cask. This one is a couple of years younger and was an exclusive from another store, the Whisky Barrel. I reviewed three of the Whisky Barrel’s other recent exclusives in March. Like two of those—a 10 yo Balblair and a 10 yo Bunnahabhain—this too is from a first-fill oloroso hogshead. I’m not sure how they got their hands on all these first-fill oloroso hogsheads from different distilleries at the same time. It wouldn’t surprise me if these are all cases of re-racked “single casks” (a la Glendronach) but that’s just speculation. Anyway, howsoever it is that these were matured, I was not a huge fan of the Balblair but liked the Bunnahabhain a lot more. Here’s hoping that this Ledaig will be at least as good as that Bunnahabhain even if it doesn’t quite reach the heights of yesterday’s Whisky Exchange release. Let’s see.
Ledaig 11, 2008 (54.4%; The Whisky Barrel; first-fill oloroso hogshead; from a bottle split)
Nose: Big smoke off the top; brighter/more acidic and altogether farmier than the TWE release. For a first-fill oloroso cask it’s not particularly rich. Quite a bit of salt too on the second sniff (salted pistachios) along with some pastry crust. As it sits, fruity notes begin to emerge (apricot, marmalade) and the sherry begins to make its presence known. With water the fruit moves in the direction of preserved lemon and the pastry crust in the direction of cream.
Palate: Leads with the brighter, farmier peat here as well and the salt is far more prominent from the get-go. A nice drinking strength and weight. The fruit from the nose doesn’t pop here unfortunately—it’s mostly the salt and the smoke to the fore with some indistinct sweeter notes. Let’s see if time/water bring out the fruit. Well, not really—a bit of pipe tobacco though. Okay, time to add some water. With water, there’s preserved lime here too and everything comes together nicely.
Finish: Long. The smoke expands as it goes, turning ashier and picking up some sweeter accents. Tarrier with time. Softer and generally as on the palate with water.
Comments: I really liked the nose a lot, both neat and with water. The palate was much simpler neat—though still very pleasurable; water picked it up there too. It may have suffered from close juxtaposition with the far richer TWE cask but this was, nonetheless, very good in its own right.
Rating: 88 points.