...where distraction is the main attraction.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Ledaig 6 year old 2004 Murray McDavid

Gonna keep this intro brief:

I'm not a fan of this decade's rash of single cask baby whiskies, and I doubt you'll find anyone who has complained about Murray McDavid's whiskies as much as I. So, I'm setting my expectations low low low low.

My Annoying Opinions is also reviewing this whisky today. I'm curious to see what he thinks of it. I'll link to his post in the morning. And here it is!

Distillery: Tobermory
Brand: Ledaig
Owner: Distell International Ltd.
Region: Isle of Mull
Independent Bottler: Murray McDavid
Age: 6 years (2004-2010)
Maturation: sherry casks
Outturn: 1100 bottles
Alcohol by Volume: 46%
Chillfiltered? probably not
Color added? probably not
(Thank you, Florin!)

Whoa, I like the nose. It's very autumnal, with moss and wet leaves. There's also a big figgy note from the sherry cask. Hints of smoked salmon and tennis ball as well. After 30 minutes, these elements all come together creating one solid unit. Similar to the nose, the palate has the autumnal notes and a sherry influence that reads mildly sweet but not jammy. Dark industrial smoke drifts around notes of honey, toffee, citrus and bitter herbs. The smoke registers the loudest on the palate. Minor notes include tart grapes, citrus and a little bit of sweetness.

A bit stunned by how much I enjoy this, I'm digging into the archive to withdraw a sample of a very difficult 6 year old 2005 Ledaig sherry cask by Blackadder for comparison purposes.

Lowering that one's ABV to 46%. Waiting a bit...

Ledaig 6 year old 2004 Murray McDavid, 46%abv
Hey here's some elephant dung in the nose. Cheers! Also burning leaves. Then dried stone fruits, tennis ball fuzz and moss. The dark industrial smoke still leads the palate. That's followed by lemon candy, honey and cayenne pepper. The finish feels longer this time. It's all dark chocolate with a mix of sweet and bitter smokes.

Ledaig 6 year old 2005 Blackadder, reduced to 46%abv
Dark chocolate and gasoline on the nose. Gigantic peatin'. Ocean air and ham. Old rubber ball. A whiff of rotten eggs. Cleaner than the nose, the palate has some good vegetal peat, a nutty note from the sherry cask and herbal bitter liqueur. Its finish is shorter than the 2004's, though it's devoid of sweetness. It's mostly big salty smoke with subtle nutty notes.

Yes, this is good. And I enjoyed it more than the 2005 in the head-to-head. Murray McDavid eschewed its usual awkward cask work which may have been the key to this whisky's success. In fact, kudos to MMcD for pulling this cask before it got all wonky, woody and winey. As it stands (or sits), the whisky is young but it avoids the Mega Mezcal notes baby peaters usually haul out. I wish I'd gotten in on this bottle back in the day (2010!) rather than the 6yo Ledaig I did buy. In any case, thank you, Florin, for sharing your bottle with us!

Availability - Sold out
Pricing - ???
Rating - 87