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!)
Bottler: Gordon & MacPhail
Series: Connoisseur's Choice
Age: 14 years (1973-1987)
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