Ledaig, Vintage 1996, Spanish Oloroso Sherry Casks, 46.3%

This limited edition Ledaig was released little over a month ago and I decided to share it. Since last year I actually have some positive experience with the brand, divided between their 18 year old, a 1974 vintage bottled 20 years ago and, of course, their ridiculously awesome 42 year old.

Interestingly, these are all official bottlings, and not independent ones. I, of course, know that the level of the 42 year old is not easy to measure up to, but a new bottlings that might be anything like the 18 year old is something worth trying.

So, I bought it. I bottle-shared it, and yesterday I followed through with my new plan. To go through my own samples from bottle shares, I plan to just sit down with it and have a couple glasses of the same whisky. Really getting to know it, instead of  just writing notes based on a few centiliters. In case of 3 cl samples there’s not much choice, but generally I end up with 10 centiliters. So, three pours. An evening of whisky per sample.

Anyway, I had a few drops of this on earlier occasions, and I had twice as much for myself in this case. I already knew I liked it. But now for proper notes.

It’s typical for properly aged Ledaig. It’s both very clean and incredibly dirty. There’s overripe fruits, peach and mango. I also get barbecue grease, the sooty, congealed kind. On the other hand there’s clean wood smoke with grass and straw. The smoke is a tad sharper than I expected.

The palate continues with the sharp smoke leading the way. There’s salt, oak, straw, slate. A typical combination of peated coastal whisky. Then the barbecue kicks back in, with the fatty soot, ash. Also hints of mango chutney and peach. Slightly on the sweet side.

The smoke is a bit more prominent on the finish and it seems at first that the dirty side of the whisky doesn’t carry all the way through. That’s not the case as it just starts with ash, straw and grass. It is quite long and after a little while you get the meaty, fatty flavors back.

This whisky is exactly what you expect it to be on many levels. The only thing that was different than what I hoped it would be was the prominent smokiness, but that too isn’t something that’s a bad thing.

The dirtiness is something I hoped for and it’s something that I think is unique to Ledaig. It’s why the 18 year old is great, it’s also why this one is great. A highly recommended dram if you want something else from Islay smoke!


Ledaig, Vintage 1996, Spanish Oloroso Sherry Casks, 46.3%. Available for € 135 at Best of Wines


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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