It’s with shame that I start this review. I got this sample from Bert Dexters, of Beacon Spirits, years ago and have completely missed it in reviewing. My sincere apologies, Bert.
A young Ledaig as we have seen quite regularly in this decade. Although, they have been getting more rare with the brand reaching more maturity. Some ten years ago every one was bottling 5 year old Ledaig, followed by increasingly older ones.
This one is bottled by Beacon Spirits, a Belgian bottler with some seven casks to their name, according to Whiskybase. Not a lot, but it says something about them not bottling just about anything they can get their hands on. I prefer these slower approaches.
Now Ledaig, as most of you will know is distilled at Tobermory distillery on the Isle of Mull, on Scotland’s west coast. It’s their peated brand, much like Bruichladdich has Port Charlotte (and Octomore, for the more gimmicky approach).
Ledaig is a bit of a weird brand, since there were quite some releases from the first half of the 1970s, with just a handful from 1976 to the early nineties. They’ve been getting back at it in recent years, though. I guess that’s a good thing since it’s a rather cracking whisky. Or at least, it has become that more and more. Let’s see where this one sits.
The smoke is the first thing you notice and there is no way around it. It’s a mix of highland and coastal smoke in style, meaning it’s a combination of woody, earthy smoke with briny aromas too. It’s very typical for Ledaig, with some sea weed and dried flowers. There’s a whiff of funkiness that’s rather uncommon for Ledaig.
The palate is surprisingly mellow. Not too surprising when a younger whisky is already down to this ABV. The peat comes with some chili pepper heat, after which the dried flowers and sea weed follow once more. It has a minor hint of espresso, with some bitterness to it.
The finish is much more crisp than I expected with a far more coastal tinge to it. Lots of sea wind, lots of peat and smoke, but also heather, flowers and sea weed again. When the flavors fade, the smoke lingers on the palate and that’s rather nice.
The whisky is very true to the character of Ledaig, with some nice little hints of other interesting flavors. I was surprised with the little note of funkiness which I find interesting. As in, some really young ones, ten years ago, were funky to the level of rotting carcasses. Then, the newer batches of Ledaig got very clean, almost like a non-Islay Ardbeg.
So, an interesting whisky to say the least. True to the distillery character, but divergent enough to be interesting!
Ledaig 2007-2015, 8 years old, 52.3%, Beacon Spirits. Still available for € 65 in Belgium