Ledaig 16yo, 1997-2013, 56.8% – Gordon and Macphail for The Whisky Exchange

Ledaig and Tobermory, a distillery that supposedly releases some kick-ass drams every now and then, but one that I’ve never fallen in love with. I’ve tried quite a lot of the young Ledaigs from a couple years ago and can’t say I really enjoyed any of them. Some were more acceptable than others, but none were truly stunning.

Anyway, another sample sent to me by Billy Abbott, of blogging, twitter and The Whisky Exchange fame. I love trying stuff that’s out of my comfort zone and sometimes you encounter really cool and tasty stuff. Like yesterday’s Glentauchers.

Ledaig currently is popular again. A few years ago every bottler and their brother was bottling 5 year old single casks. Currently they’re highly popular with festivals and other, more private, bottlers. At 8 years old so you’d expect the production being ridiculously high in 2006.

I wonder if there’s going to be any casks left over for longer aging so there can be any comparisons. This one, however, is quite a lot older than those many bottlings, since it’s from 1997 and bottled at 16 years old. I’m not sure if I’ve ever had one this old. I’m pretty sure I haven’t tried any of their famous 1973 bottlings. Let’s dive in!

Ledaig 1997 by TWE

Ledaig 1997 by TWE

Sniff:
Much lighter in the smoke department than I expected. The smoke surely has picked up on the sherry and, like yesterday’s Glentauchers, is rather barbecue-y. Rather gentle with wood char, sweet barbecue marinade, brown sugar, ash. Maybe some grilled paprika / bell pepper / capsicum.

Sip:
Here the alcohol kicks in, with ashy smoke, lots of charred oak and charcoal. Quite some alcohol burn, with toffee sweetness and barbecue. Some thick syrupy caramel sauce. Pretty tasty.

Swallow:
The finish is gentle quick, but does leave some burn in your throat. Pretty long with some dates and toffee, on top of the rather coarse smokiness.

It’s a strange one, this one. With 16 years, a lot of alcohol and an active sherry cask, you’d expect a true bomb. And, in a way, it is exactly that. It’s just that in a different way. There’s not a HUGE amount of sherry going on, not too much fruit and spices, but quite some smoke and wood. Again, like yesterday, not a whisky that’s been overpowered.

I’m quite enamored with this dram. It’s fierce, and I don’t think you’ll find a lot of depth if you try it again and again, but it is incredibly drinkable. You’re in for an experience and a rather tasty one if I may say so.

It’s sold out, and bottlings like this are not very fashionable in auctions so I think you’ll be having a hard time finding one if you want to. I know I’m keeping my eyes peeled for this, and the Glentauchers. If the price is right of course.

Ledaig 16yo, 1997-2013, 56.8%, Gordon and Macphail for The Whisky Exchange. It’s about € 66, according to Whiskybase.

Thanks for the sample, Billy and TWE!

About Sjoerd de Haan-Kramer

I'm a web developer at Emakina. I'm highly interested in booze, with a focus on whisk(e)y. I like to listen to loads of music and read quite some books. I'm married to Anneke, have a daughter Ot, a son Moos and a cat called Kikker (which means Frog, in Dutch). I live in Krommenie, The Netherlands.
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