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Friday, November 1, 2019

Ledaig 19 year old 1998 Pedro Ximénez Cask Finish

Monday: Ledaig 19 year old Oloroso Cask Finish, 46%abv
Wednesday: Ledaig 19 year old Madeira Cask Finish, 51%abv
Today: Ledaig 19 year old Pedro Ximenez Cask Finish, 55.7%abv

Each of these had different "finish" periods. The Oloroso expression spent 13 years in sherry casks, while Wednesday's bottling spent less than a year in Madeira casks. This whisky's PX cask finish lasted two years, so it was neither a quickie nor an extended second maturation.

I'm usually not a fan of PX finishes, but I'm willing to give this a chance because it's a 19 year old Ledaig. Expectations set to: Moderate.

Distillery: Tobermory
Brand: Ledaig
Owner: Distell International Ltd.
Region: Isle of Mull
Age: 19+ years (9 July 1998 - 2018)
Maturation: bourbon casks for 17+ years, then either "almost" or "more than" two years in Pedro Ximénez casks
Outturn: 1650 bottles
Alcohol by Volume: 55.7%
Chillfiltered? No
Colorant Added? No

The nose begins with fudge and red wine. Salty seaweedy peat. Calvados, damp moss and a hint of gunpowder. Some raw peated spirit in there too. The palate is more metallic and sweet than peaty. It gets tangier by the minute, like a lemony vinaigrette. Sooty peat and mixed berry jam notes build with time. The finish is puckeringly sweet and tangy. Bits of bitter smoke and berry jam linger behind.

DILUTED TO ~46%abv, or 1¼ tsp of water per 30mL whisky
Peated raspberry jam and roses on the nose, with hints of marizpan and the beach. Peaty berry jam again on the palate. It's still tangy and sweet. It's less metallic now and a little bitterer. The finish matches the palate.

Since I did it for the other two:

DILUTED TO ~40%abv, or 2⅓ tsp of water per 30mL whisky
The nose becomes peatier and brighter. Subtler berry and rose notes. A hint of cold kiln. The palate feels very thin. Mild sweetness and bitterness. Mild peat and dried herbs. It's back to the tangy and sweet thing in the finish. A puff of bitter smoke.

This was better than I'd expected, in fact the nose was great throughout. I'm not sure how I feel about the metal and vinegar combo in the palate. At least it wasn't winey. Unlike the other two, this one fares best at full strength, even though it has the highest ABV. Overall, it's probably a near tie with the Oloroso expression.

All three of these Ledaigs were of moderate quality. The wood rarely intruded and the grapes mostly stayed out of the palates. While that is more than one can say for the majority of finished whiskies, I'm glad to have split a bottle rather than shilled out $$$ for an entire bottle, especially at the asking price.

Availability - A few dozen retailers in the US and Europe
Pricing - $170-$200 (ex-VAT)
Rating - 84


  1. Much like Laphroaig, it really is confusing why we can't just get older bourbon casks. Is that going to keep them from selling?

    1. With you on this. I really don't get it. Even the 18yo batches were a mix of casks. They didn't release one all bourbon cask Ledaig in the entire 18-21yo bunch. Like Laphroaig they shouldn't have anything to hide and plenty to celebrate.