...where distraction is the main attraction.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Single Malt Report: Ledaig 16yr 1997 Blackadder Raw Cask

(Peatin' Meetin' post #3b)

Ah, this one was fun to pour for the folks at my Peatin' Meetin' whisky table.  Despite its strength it was drinkable, and considerably different than most of the other whiskies around.

If you live in The States and frequent your local whisky retail paradise, you may see a Blackadder bottling or two.  Picking up the bottle, you'll notice three things.  Firstly, it's pretty expensive.  Secondly, the ABV is often very high.  And thirdly, if it's a Raw Cask bottling, there's a bunch of barrel char flakes floating around at the bottom of the bottle!  You can even sort of see the black stuff in the picture below.  When Blackadder says "Raw Cask", they mean "Raw Cask".  No filtering of any kind, including chunks of stuff.  It's sort of a ploy, but it sort of works.  I mean, I'm the first person to fall for the romance of char or sediment in my booze.

So when I was pouring this bottle of Tobermory's peated malt Ledaig (led-chig), I enjoyed showing off the high ABV and black chunks because no other bottle had it.  Plus I love Ledaig.  For now I'm in the minority on that one, but hopefully their current new official bottling will win over more fans than the old ones.

This whisky, of course, is not bottled by their owners, Burn Stewart.  Instead it's being brought to us by the aforementioned Blackadder.  So, since Ledaig can be a zany whisky and single casks are always their own beasts, let's see how this goes...

Distillery: Tobermory
Brand: Ledaig
Independent Bottler: Blackadder (Raw Cask)
Age: March 24, 1997 - April 2013 (16 years)
Maturation: Hogshead
Cask number: 80027
Limited bottling: 104
Region: Isle of Mull
Alcohol by Volume: 60.8%
Chillfiltered: No
Colored: No

Color - Apple juice gold
Nose - First, one must get underneath all that alcohol.  Then there's subtle wood smoke, baked fruits (pears, apples, pineapples), hot cereal, a pinch of moss, and perfumed feminine musk (note to self: stop trying to explain this characteristic to a woman, you fool).
Palate - Hot cereal (think oats, farina, or cream of wheat) with a dash of brown sugar, along with strong malt with some spice at the end.  After catching some air, some peat veg shows up.
Finish - BIG.  Menthol, musk, malt, peat smoke, and oats.  But not necessarily in that order.

WITH WATER (around 45-46% ABV)
Nose - Ah, here's the Ledaig that I Le-Dig! Sometimes odd, sometimes bracing, sometimes scrumptious, always Ledaig: Vinegar. Butryic perfume (if that's a thing). Those baked fruits. Vanilla extract. Industrial fluids. Anise. Menthol. Red Hots (candies). And it all works.
Palate - Sweet & spicy peat, honey on a sweet potato, and cigar ash. Much more sugary now. Makes me think of a drier odder older Laphroaig QC, if that makes any sense.
Finish - Long, sweet, and spicy. Cigars and a Caol Ila-style beach bonfire.

In my opinion, one doesn't ride the Ledaig choo-choo if one expects the car to stay on the tracks.  If you're looking for a peaceful trip, catch another ride, man.  ---metaphor switch--- While I can't say this Ledaig has a balanced or consistent storyline, the entertainment value rates very highly.

It does take some level of craft mastery to create something like this.  And despite the love-hate relationship whisky drinkers have with Ledaig, Tobermory hasn't stopped cranking the stuff out.  Thank goodness.  In turn, Blackadder picked out an enjoyable cask here, though a little water goes a long way with the whisky inside.

Availability - Some continental European specialists
Pricing - $120-$130 (minus VAT, plus shipping)
Rating - 90