In the last few years I’ve noticed an interesting phenomenon regarding whisky releases from independent bottlers. Once every few months, a plethora of new independent bottlings from a specific distillery and year floods the market in the form of single casks (and sometimes a vatting of two casks), and all casks numbers are within a very small and definite range.
I assume that a stock of said casks were released from bond and independent bottlers rush, select and bottle a few casks within a short time period. In the last few years we’ve seen such waves of Laphroaig 1998, Longmorn 1996, Glen Keith 1992, Tamdhu 2004 and many many others and the last wave I recognized was a big wave of Ledaig 2004 bottlings.
While not all casks were born equal, tasting one cask and assessing its’ quality will tell us a lot about the general quality of the entire “batch” of said releases. The Ledaig 2004 under the scope today was bottled specifically for Specs (a big retailer in Texas), bottled in 46% (although many others in the wave were bottled in cask strength) after spending 10 years and 8 months in a first fill sherry butt that yielded 692 bottles.
Ledaig 2004 10 Year Old (46%, 692 bottles, $68.41)
Nose: Starts with sweet peat and quickly it turns out to be also dry and salty. Sherry sweetness, salted dried fruit, dirty sherry, pickled vegetables. With additional time more dried fruit and raisins are exposed in addition to unlit coal smoke and bonfire smoke.
Palate: Peat, dirty and pickled, sweet dried fruits, also some ashes and soot, salt, dried fruit, smoky and dry.
Finish: Long finish with peat and smoke, salt, dried fruit sweetness and drying oak tannins
Thoughts: It’s good stuff with that mix of sweet peat and dirty sherry and I bet it would be even better in cask strength. If you consider yourself a whisky geek or aficionado, you should a bottle of Lediag 2004 from that wave of releases. It doesn’t have to be this cask as it will be hard to get one unless you live or visit Texas, but there’s a good chance that a bottle from one of the sister casks will be magnificent just as well.