Ledaig 14, 2008 (Cadenhead)

Alright, let’s bring this week of peated whiskies to an end. We started on Islay with a 6 yo Bunnahabhain and continued in Campbeltown with a Kilkerran that is probably not very much older than that Bunnahbhain. We’ll end now with a Ledaig that is positively ancient by comparison, at 14 years old. Even though Ledaig is distilled on the Isle of Mull (it is, of course, essentially peated Tobermory), in a sense we’re still in Campbeltown for this review. This because this sample comes from a bottle purchased at Cadenhead’s Warehouse Tasting in Campbeltown, late last fall. I have not been to Campbeltown myself. I very much hope to go if I make it back to Scotland anytime soon—and if I do, the Cadenhead Warehouse Tasting will be high on my list of things to do. That will be true, by the way, even if this Ledaig disappoints. Though I don’t expect it will.

Ledaig 14, 2008 (54.4%; Cadenhead; bourbon hogshead; from a bottle split)

Nose: Organic, earthy peat (damp leaves, compost etc.) but not quite as farmy/dirty as Ledaig can be. Savoury, meaty notes come up from below on the second sniff (charred pork). Some roasted malt and some cream in there as well with lemon and salt lurking in the background. As it sits, the lemon expands, turns preserved and then melds with the cream. A few drops of water push the smoke back and pull out more salt.

Palate: Pretty much as indicated by the nose minus the roasted malt and cream. Very approachable at full strength with rich texture. More salt and char on the second sip and it also tastes more coastal (shells). The lemon expands here as well with time but instead of cream it’s joined by some vanilla. Okay, let’s add water. It pushes the smoke back here as well, pulling out more of the lemon.

Finish: Long. The smoke builds steadily after I swallow, picking up char and tar as it goes. Thirty seconds later my mouth is just colonized by the smoke. When the smoke finally subsides the salt has the last word. As on the palate with water.

Comments: An interesting mix of heavy peat and softer notes. By far, the least farmy Ledaig I’ve had in a while. Very nice indeed and a good advertisement for the Cadenhead Warehouse Tasting.

Rating: 88 points.



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