Let’s round out the week with another sherry cask whisky but turn the peat up a little higher past Wednesday’s Bowmore 11. Just about two years ago I reviewed a Ledaig 10, 2004 bottled by Signatory. I was supposed to follow that up with a review of this 10 yo distilled in 2005 and also bottled by Signatory that I’d acquired as part of the same large bottle split but never got around to it. Both are from a large parcel of young sherry casks put out by Signatory (and a few other bottlers who may have acquired their casks from Signatory). Most of these 10-11 yo Ledaigs have been very good indeed—very nice marriages of heavy peat and heavy sherry. I really liked that 2004 and I’ve been drinking this one down at a rapid rate as well since opening it a week or two ago. Here now are some notes on it.
Ledaig 10, 2005 (54.6%; Signatory; first-fill sherry butt 900145; from a bottle split)
Nose: Rubbery smoke with charred, barbecued pork coming up behind alongside some sweeter sherry notes (dried orange peel, pipe tobacco). The salt from the palate pops out here too with time and it gets more acidic too (lemon); and with a lot of air/time the rubber recedes a bit. Water pushes back the salt, pulls out some softer notes (milky cocoa) and ties it all together nicely.
Palate: As indicated by the nose for the most part but there’s a lot more salt here. And, unfortunately, some sherry separation. It’s a good drinking strength but I’m hoping water will tie it together better. I’ll give it some more time and a few more sips before I add some. The sherry settles a bit with time and air. Water mostly fixes the sherry separation and pushes the smoke back a bit; still a fair bit of salt.
Finish: Long. The sherry comes back together and the smoke gets more charred, ending finally with wet cigarettes. As on the palate with water.
Comments: Very good peat-sherry pleasures in the mode of most of these young Ledaigs from this period but this is not one of the best ones. Still I wouldn’t say no to another big pour or three and it’s a good thing that’s how much I have left of this. I’m going to have the rest alongside some very dark chocolate.
Rating: 86 points.
The Whisky Exchange bottled a few Ledaigs of a similar age and vintage. The two I tried were both good and, at least when released, reasonably priced and easy to obtain. I thought the quality was a notch higher (mid/high 80s) than the two SigVin bottlings I tried (casks 900145 and 900151, both mid 80s for me). Of course, you have to like rubber on the nose. I guess it disappears with age but we have a bottle of the 18yo Distillery-only sherry finish and it’s still very prominent.
Was this one of the TWE Ledaigs you’re referring to?
Sounds delightful (sherry separation aside)! I have enjoyed all the Ledaigs I’ve been able to try (admittedly not very many) – but I feel like prices are shooting up quite steeply, which is depressing. TWE currently have a 13yo TWE bottling for £95, a 7yo Signatory-for-TWE for £65, a 12yo Signatory for £100 and a 12yo Rest & Be Thankful for £88. Pretty horrendous age-price ratios, even at cask strength!
The only readily available bottling I can justify buying is the OB 10 at £40, but tasting notes suggest it is more oaky and less Ledaig-y than most of the indies. Has anybody tasted the official 10?
Whatever happened to independent bottlings being good value for money? It seems to me that over the last few years the big online retailers (MoM, TWE) have been increasingly taking the piss on the pricing of their in-house independent bottlings, and seem to be doing well with it, and I guess others follow suit, whether because they are forced to because they’re squeezed for stock, or simply because they realise they can do it too. Good reason to buy less whisky!
Yeah, the rising prices of indie releases in the last few years is a real thing. My understanding is that the indies are squeezed for casks.
It’ll be interesting to find out what effect the US tariffs have had on sales volumes of Scotch in the last year. I’m assuming that if Biden wins (as I devoutly hope he will) those tariffs will go away—in which case it will probably be a minor blip. Otherwise four more years might create if not another whisky lock, a small whisky pond that might lead again to there being more casks available to the indies. Not that I would root for the first part under any circumstances.
Interesting, I was blissfully unaware of the fact tariffs had been levied. Given that I’m in the UK it sounds as though your loss could be my gain, if you are right in predicting a whisky pond, but I have to agree with you and root against that happening on more urgent grounds!
The ones I tried were Cask 900161 (sister cask to the Ledaig you linked to) and the 2018 Whisky Show bottling. Didn’t make notes on either, I’m afraid; recollection is they were both decent whiskies but nothing special. The Whisky Show bottling was only (ahem) #85 at release which is probably reasonable for a sherried, peated whisky of that age and quality; hard to recommend it at the current Whiskybases prices (roughly double that).
Looking through my TWE order history, I see that I also tried Cask 1030 but that one isn’t sherried.
Whisky Show bottling: https://www.whiskybase.com/whiskies/whisky/120263/ledaig-12-year-old-twex
Cask 1030: https://www.whiskybase.com/whiskies/whisky/92588/ledaig-2004-sms
Yes, the “bespoke cask” tax is high. I don’t mind paying it when a young whisky is really excellent but it makes it far less likely that I will take a flyer on one without trusted recommendations. And, of course, as noted in the conversation in the other post, these days if you wait too long to acquire information on anything that is actually excellent the chances that you will be able to get it are slim to none.