Distell, the owners of Tobermory, Bunnhabhain and Deanston distilleries (after purchasing Burn Stewart Distillers back in 2013), has announced last week a formal collection of limited editions for 2018 with six whiskies from those distilleries.
In 2017 we had a similar collection from Distell although it was not officially announced as a global and unified series. The 2017 collection included two Bunnahabhain whiskies (Moine Brandy Finish and PX Finish), Deanston in Bordeaux wine casks and a few more releases from Tovermory and one of those ‘extra’ releases was the Ledaig 13 Year Old Amontillado Finish which became a big hit that largely flew under the radar but was coveted by many whisky lovers.
Ledaig 13 Year Old Amontillado Finish (59.2%, £74.99/€102.78)
Nose: Sweet pears and cured meat, soft earthy sweet peat, then big grapes and fuzzy white wine (Cava) notes with pears interwoven with the Ledaig sweet peat, vanilla, soft subtle smokiness. Continue reading
While Tobermory Distillery is closed for renovations lets have a look at Ledaig 19 Year Old Marsala finish. It was distilled back in 1997 and then matured in bourbon barrels and then finished in Marsala wine casks. It was bottled late 2016 before arriving to markets at the beginning of 2017.
I delayed (a lot!) with this review since they whisky was pretty harsh whisky when I initially tasted it but I believed it will be much better with oxidation. So it sat aside and waited for the right time that finally arrived.
Ledaig 19 Year Old Marsala Wine Finish (51%, £124/€159,90)
Nose: Sweet and spicy wine, dry wine tannins, funky herbal and acrid peat, salt, some ashes as well, baked sour red fruit, berries, fresh rich malt and vanilla lurks below the surface, Over time and oxidation getting richer with softer ashes and peat smoke. Continue reading
Last week I reviewed three Ledaig matured in bourbon and a friend of mine who read the post asked me if he was correct in his assumption that I didn’t like them too much. My answer was that I just prefer Ledaig in other types of casks.
And my favorite type of cask for Ledaig? That would be first fill sherry casks. Over the last few years we’ve seen a glut of 2004/2005 Ledaigs matured in first fill sherry casks (9001xx cask numbers) and those I’ve tasted were good (here is a review of one that was bottled for Specs in Texas) . but I especially liked the Signatory releases due to the dirtiness and the tiny amount of sulphur there that elevated them to a good and interesting whisky.
So here’s a review of another Ledaig in sherry cask, this time a 2005 vintage from cask 900161 that produced 564 bottles after being bottled in July 2016 by Speciality Drinks Ltd under the Single Malts of Scotland brand.
Ledaig 2005 11 Year Old Cask #900161 (The Single Malts of Scotland) (56.8%, £65)
Nose: Smooth and sweet earthy peat and it does has that dirt note albeit weak. Slowly the red fruit show up, a mix of berries: blue and red berries, and a dry bonfire smoke and charcoal. Continue reading
Following yesterday’s duo we’ll go one step further and have a Trio review. Yup! Three whiskies reviewed today.
I’ve decided to go “Ledaig matured in bourbon casks” theme today. Why? Well, the obvious answer is “because I can” but also because I do like Ledaig and last year it became somewhat fashionable (but thankfully prices are still reasonable).
So let’s start. The first one and the youngest of them all is a Ledaig 2008 from Signatory. a vatting of two casks (Casks 700752+700753) that were distilled 13.5.2008 and bottled 8.3.2016. It was diluted to 46% and so we have a nice yield of 691 Bottles.
Ledaig 2008 7 Year Old Signatory (46%)
Nose: Sweet nose with sweet earthy peat but the dilution is somewhat felt, honey, malt and slowly we get some bonfire smoke and lemon peels as well.
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.