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Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Ledaig 17 year old 1993 G&M Connoisseurs Choice (bought in Japan)

I had two whisky retailing surprises during my first trip to Japan. First, there was no age stated Japanese whisky to be found (and this was more than three years ago). Secondly, there was SO MUCH scotch whisky on the shelves, especially from independent bottlers. The former was a bummer, the latter floored me especially because the prices were often really good. Port Charlotte PC8 was $60. And today's 17yo G&M Ledaig was, I kid you not, $46.

I say this with some confidence: We will never see prices like that again. Ever. And that's probably why so much of that scotch and bourbon was cleared out when I returned to Japan two years later.

The intro is over. Long live the intro.

The G&M Connoisseurs Choice range has a several 43%abv Ledaigs from right around the mid '90s time period. This one was from refill sherry butts and may have just been a Japanese release. While Ledaigs from the mid-'00s are hot stuff right now, '80s and '90s are still not considered sexy. So I can't even make the hipster claim, "I loved this stuff before it was cool." It's still terribly uncool. That's why we're homies.

Distillery: Tobermory
Brand: Ledaig
Current Ownership: Distell International Ltd.
Ownership at time of distillation: either Burn Stewart Distillers or Tobermory Distillers Ltd.
Region: Isle of Mull
Independent Bottler: Gordon & MacPhail
Range: Connoisseurs Choice
Age: 17 years old (May 1993 - December 2010)
Maturation: refill sherry butts
Alcohol by Volume: 43%
(review sample taken from the bottom half of my bottle)

For its sparring partner, I poured a glass of my enjoyable 15yo OB 2001 bottling.

The refill-est of butts. Very spirity. Toast, wet sand, leaves, yeast and grist. Momentary whiffs of vanilla ice cream and raw cocoa. Totally lacking the fruity, medicine and peat of the 15yo. Okay, there's a little bit of fermenting apples. Molasses. Tofu. Heck, it's more savory than peaty. It fades out after 20 minutes, even when covered.

Butter and lemons take the place of the nose's yeast and apples. A big hit of horseradish. Some sugary bits, with a hint of dried berries. More marshmallow than vanilla. Burnt toast. Slight floral estery things. The butter note grows with time and the lemons get sweeter.

Toasted grains, horseradish and lemons. Kinda sweet. Kinda short. Something burnt.

This felt half its age, which could be a good thing. But wasn't. The '90s Ledaig Strange Degree (LSD) was low, which also a bummer. It's, essentially, a sleepy Tobermory. Just a little bit of fruit or moss or fish or gravel or gravy or something would have made a big difference.

Despite the preceding paragraph, this isn't terrible whisky. In fact, I almost gave it a low 80s grade for being as fine and friendly as this era of Ledaig can get. But it sorta bumped its ass on the landing — that's not a thing, but it's late here — and leaves behind a fading burnt shrug in the mouth.

But I must say, I'm happy with the price I paid.

Availability - Happy Hunting?
Pricing - ???
Rating - 78


  1. So, was there a lot of 'no age stated' whisky, or was there no 'age stated' whisky?

    1. Both! No age stated whisky and no age stated whisky. Plant ye hyphens where ye may.