For the last whisky review of the month let’s stick with the SMWS and with peated whisky. We’ll move from Ardmore in the eastern Highlands, however, to Ledaig/Tobermory on the Isle of Mull. In case you’re wondering, the SMWS uses the same code for Tobermory and Ledaig (which is the peated variant of Tobermory). Ledaig is much more heavily peated than Ardmore and far closer in profile to the heavier, phenolic malts of Islay (which Mull is also closer to). Like the last Ledaig I reviewed, one of K&L’s teaspooned casks from 2020, this one is from a refill hogshead. I rather liked that K&L cask, a nice break from most indie Ledaigs that hit the market from sherry casks. This one is 10 years younger, however. Let’s see how much of a difference that makes.
Ledaig 13, 2007 (56.6%; SMWS 42.50; refill hogshead; from a bottle split)
Nose: Very clearly peated Tobermory as the smoke and phenols sit on a big yeasty, bready base. The yeasty tang begins to drift towards lemon as it sits and the smoke expands, getting even more phenolic. Water gives it more “weight”: deeper char and sweeter smoke (pipe tobacco).
Palate: A little sweeter here and quite a bit of char to go with the phenols. Very approachable at full strength and a rich texture. With each sip that mix of sweetness and char expands—think charred pork; more salt too with time. Water adds richness and depth here as well.
Finish: Long. The smoke gets drier and hangs out longer; and the salt expands. The finish is longer and the smoke ashier with water.
Comments: I was glad the yeasty notes from the early going on the nose didn’t quite follow through on the palate and finish. That said, this is a big smoky whisky that doesn’t finally add enough other elements to give it complexity. Which is not to say that I would not happily drink it again.
Rating: 87 points.