...where distraction is the main attraction.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Single Malt Report: Ledaig 14 year old 1973-1987 Sestante

Okay, the 24 hour mystery is now over.  Yes, I had a sample of full strength 1973 Ledaig.

This 14 year old Ledaig, bottled by the much revered but now shuttered Italian independent bottler Sestante, received raves from the Malt Maniacs so it arrived in my glass with a reputation.  But I knew that no matter if this whisky was disappointing or great I was very thankful for this opportunity.  (Many many thank yous to Cobo!)

Distillery: Ledaig
BottlerGordon & MacPhail
Series: Connoisseur's Choice
Age: 14 years (1973-1987)
Maturation: ???
Region: Isle of Mull
Alcohol by Volume: 56.3%

Its color is amber, lighter than yesterday's Ledaig.  The nose immediately brings to mind three things:  A christmas tree farm.  The docks of a fishing village.  A grove of fruiting lemon trees.  Then highlights of grilled meat, soil, and kiln follow next.  With time some bold notes of cruciferous leafy vegetables, brine, and cow patties arise.  With water, there's noticeably more barn.  Then pineapple and burning hay.  While the nose is big, the palate is larger.  Such depth to its char and phenolic swamp...but then a sweet fruity twist at the end.  Fresh herbs in manure.  Sea salt and wasabi.  Time and water bring out lemon oils and candy canes.  That wasabi bite is in the very long finish even before the water is added.  There's a lot of brine and smoke with California sauvignon blanc (believe it or not) to balance it out.  Water and time makes it very rich and syrupy.  Stroopwafels!

It is indeed great.  While I prefer the nose on yesterday's G&M Ledaig (at any strength), this one smells very good.  But the Sestante's palate beats the snot out of the G&M's.  While the 14yo's kiln smoke is near monolithic on the tongue at first, herbs and fruits and sugars make brief appearances to balance things out.  Water and time in the glass do a few nice things, but this stuff is still so brawny after 28 years in the bottle.  There's a 40%abv version of this, but I personally wouldn't even bother (if I had that kind of scratch) because the power is the main attraction.

I will have to dig deep to try and top this one.  Tomorrow, I'll attempt it.

Availability - Happy Hunting?
Pricing - Yoooooge
Rating - 91


  1. Ha... I always seem to forget which samples I already sent you :D
    This old Ledaig is really a great dram, and believe it or not, the 40%abv version is not that worse. I was able to taste it at the last Whisky Fair in Vienna. It was a bit too expensive from my point of view, but I wanted to try it side by side with the CS one. This Bottling always reminds me a bit of some PE's I already had. Lemony-peppery with a nice share of tar and phenoles.

    1. This old Ledaig/Tobermory style is stunning. And I love the gothic label on this one. :)