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Friday, January 20, 2017

Single Malt Report: Ledaig 16 year old 1997 Gordon & MacPhail for The Whisky Exchange

Two intense Ledaigs so far this week and, yes, two very positive reviews. I'll finish up with a darker-colored Ledaig that has had a few more years in a cask. In fact it's from the '90s (ancient!). It's another Gordon & MacPhail bottling sold exclusively through a single retailer. This time it's from the big boys and girls at The Whisky Exchange, whom (I just learned) are no longer at the massive Vinopolis location, as of two years ago. So don't head over to Bank End looking for booze. Anyway, TWE usually picks good stuff. Let's see how this bottle of Tobermory's Farts fares...

Distillery: Tobermory
Brand: Ledaig
Region: Isle of Mull
Independent Bottler: Gordon & MacPhail
Age: 16 years (October 23, 1997 - October 30, 2013)
Maturation: refill sherry hogshead
Cask number465
Exclusively for: The Whisky Exchange
Alcohol by Volume: 56.8%
Chillfiltered? No
Colored? No
Sample obtained in a swap with His Annoying Opinions. Thanks, HAO?

It has a dark gold color. The rich "refill" cask registers first in the nose: Raisins and vanilla. Dark chocolate merges with the vegetal peat. Lavender honey. Make that golden raisins and plums. Chocolate, toffee and tobacco in the palate. Pepper in the back, lime on the sides. Moderate peating. Fizzy ginger. Hints of anise and mint. The finish is its sweetest point. Then dark chocolate, soil and citrus.

WITH WATER (~46%abv)
The sherry gets even bolder in the nose. Buckets of dried fruit and honey. Vanilla. Less smoke than before. The palate has also mellowed, now more toasty than smoky. Ginger and bitter chocolate. A whole lotta limes. The finish is sweet and smoky. Limes and vanilla.

Oddly, the peat now returns to the nose, while the sherry fades. Simple but nice honeyed herbal peatin'. The palate is sweeter, lightly peated. Easy drinking. A little bit of pepper and minerals. A sugar-covered raisin or two. It finishes sweet and raisin-y. Peppery and lightly bitter.

This is, probably, the closest thing to a crowdpleaser amongst the three Ledaigs I reviewed this week. It's quite sweet with plenty of dried fruit and vanilla. Yet, the peat remains more Ledaig-style than Islayesque, which is much appreciated by this drinker. It's too bad I missed out on getting my own bottle, but TWE's shipping prices are forbidding.

Mr. Opinions, from whose bottle this sample was poured, found some different angles to it. He detected more smoke and ash than I did. But he did note the lime, raisins and sweets. Serge "liked it a lot", too; one or two more points than MAO and I, if such a thing can be so precisely quantified; which it can't.

Availability - The Whisky Exchange, but it's been sold out for some time.
Pricing - What kind of asshole reviews whiskies you can't buy? What kind of asshole doesn't?
Rating - 86