Ledaig 1974-1992, 43%

After trying the tremendous Ledaig 42 from 1972 last year, I thought there might be something to early seventies Ledaig. I never got around to trying many of those and when someone posted a share of this one on Facebook, I thought it a good idea to get stuck in.

So, 10 cl of 1974 Ledaig on the way from Germany to The Netherlands. Just in time so I could taste it at Christmas. December generally gets clogged up with the Blind Tasting Competition, Advent stuff and all kinds of get-togethers with family and friends.

It’s quite clean with gentle and thick peat. Less Islay-like than nowadays. Rich, slightly salty and some peanut flavors too. Lemon in the background, crisp with some chamois leather.

Note: Lemon, chamois leather and smoke. But absolutely not like Port Ellen.

Image from Whiskybase

Image from Whiskybase

The palate is initially quite thin but builds in intensity quickly. Smooth smokiness, malted barley, oak. Sweet and salty. Lots of oak.

The finish is remarkably full for a whisky at 43%. Fiery and ever so slightly mineral. Pepper, salt, sweetness. Some vanilla here.

Now this is something else than what I know Ledaig for. It’s not really comparable to the 42 year old, and it certainly is not comparable to the modern ones out there at 5 to 15 years old (the ones I tried at least).

Is that a bad thing? Far from it! This is a really lovely dram with lots of flavors that progress from nose to finish. It’s quite clean and smoky at the beginning, and it migrates to a more wood focused dram towards the end. The oak never dominates the spirit, however.

What is it that they did with peaty whiskies in the seventies that makes them so much fuller, smoother and, let’s be honest, better than what there is now? Unless you like those fiery drams better than this far deeper flavor, of course.

In short, this is good stuff. I might be on the look out for something like this, and it also reminds me I should focus on getting some old whiskies in before they are all gone.

Ledaig 1974-1992, 43%. According to Whiskybase it’s valued at little over 200 euros, but I think that’s a very old bit of info.


About Sjoerd de Haan-Kramer

I'm very interested in booze, with a focus on whisky. I like to listen to loads of music and play lots of Magic: the Gathering, and board games too. I'm married to Anneke, have two daughters Ot and Cato, a son Moos and a cat called Kikker (which means Frog, in Dutch). I live in Krommenie, The Netherlands.
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2 Responses to Ledaig 1974-1992, 43%

  1. Emile says:

    What did they do different back then? Yeast & fermentation! Gives a far more thicker & oily spirit. And, with the introduction of peat tractors over traditional peat cutting, the resulting peat is surface peat and not the deeper layers, which give more iodine on Islay and less ‘fiery’ (burnt grass & paper) notes in general. And drum maltings in contrast with more traditional ways of drying the barley. Plus the stills are fired harder to distill quicker… And less efficient barley strains… And… And…

    Already the difference between 2010 and 2015 Lagavulin 16 y.o. is huge. Actually, I know a place where you try them head to head to see for yourself 😉

    • I tried the Lagavulin 16 head to head a while ago. I think it was the +/- 2010 version vs a late nineties White Horse.

      Different, but not worth the difference in price.

      But yeah, the difference between the seventies and the nineties is huge.

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