I generally don’t like Ledaig, as I’ve said on multiple occasions before. I also generally don’t get samples of this caliber. Luckily, I was at our 25th Anniversary party of the Usquebaugh Society last weekend, and Ronald Zwartepoorte brought the sample he had gotten.
Ronald is the general manager of the most prominent Dutch whisky magazine ‘Whisky Passion‘ and a general nice guy. Even though he wraps that part in off handed comments and cynicism. I like to think we get along, but that’s hard to gauge.
Anyway, I had totally missed that he brought the sample but just before we all went home we met up and he gave me the last 2cl of his sizable sample. Kudos to him. My subscription turns out to be money well spent!
Normally, when I tell people I don’t have much of a love affair with Ledaig, they generally comment something in line of ‘Have you tried this and that 1972/1973 one?’. Until now, I could only state that I had not. Kind of a bummer, apparently, since the world seems to think it’s awesome.
The nose starts with the typical dirty, oily smoke Ledaig often displays. With the sherry added it’s actually rather likable (understatement). There’s lots of oak and dried plums, spicy and olive oil. Something creamy as well. It’s rich and heavy with lots of oak and rancio.
The palate is somewhat more spicy but focuses heavily on the oak. Wood spices, wood and very dry, but not overweight. It’s surprisingly light for this age and style of whisky. Sherry, red and black pepper. Very dry, and even quite bitter. Dried plums, almonds and rancio. It mellows after half a minute of swimming and becomes more juicy. Dirty smoke again, olive oil. Some heather and other dry plants.
The finish is a bit more feisty, but gentle. Rich and slightly spicy. Wood spices. Nutmeg and clove. Some fruit, the dried plums again. Very long. The bitterness that’s there too is a bit like plum stones.
This is an awesome dram. There is so much to discover here with a focus on the dried plums, oak and smoke. The combination of all flavors works very, very well and the dirty smoke from Ledaig is delicious.
It’s oily, old and smells like every bit of a distillery except the mash room. The still room, the warehouses (dunnage) are all represented. It’s all quite mesmerizing, actually.
In short, it’s one of the best whiskies I’ve ever had. I didn’t expect that. Kudos to Ledaig/Tobermory. And to Ronald Zwartepoorte for giving me a sample!
Now the uneasy part. A bottle of this stuff will set you back € 3600. At least.
Ledaig Dùsgadh 42yo, 1972-2015, 46.3%, A variety of casks finished in Oloroso sherry. 500 bottles in total.
PS: My sample said 46.7%. Contrary to what every site on the internet says, that’s the correct ABV. So, not 46.3, but 46.7%