...where distraction is the main attraction.

Friday, November 18, 2022

Ledaig 20 year old 2001 Gordon & MacPhail, cask 285

Another late work night, and I sit down at 11:48pm to type up my tasting notes for this heavily-sherried Ledaig. I can only think of two more things to include in this introduction:

1.) I like Ledaig.
2.) Can the SWA require quotation marks for sopping wet aggressively re-seasoned "refill" sherry casks? Et vos, Gordon and MacPhail?

(No, I'm not going to pretend I remember any of my high school Latin, other than "Canis est in via".)

Distillery: Tobermory
Malt: Ledaig
Owner: Distell International Ltd.
Region: Isle of Mull
Independent Bottler: Gordon & MacPhail
Range: Connoisseurs Choice - Cask Strength
Age: 20 years (2001 - 5 May 2022)
Maturation: refill sherry butt lol
Cask #: 285
Outturn: 498 bottles
Exclusive to: United Kingdom
Alcohol by Volume: 58.4%
(from a bottle split)


The nose says someone's grilling ribs at the beach. Sage, oregano and grapefruit peels swirl through the BBQ smoke. A whiff of manure stays in the background. The palate offers herbal (oregano, rosemary, dried mint) and bold citrus (yuzus!) to go with chocolate, Robotussin, ume candy and salty pickled ume. It finishes with yuzu, lime, mesquite smoke, Robotussin and mint.

This is a big one, so I'm trying two dilution strengths:

DILUTED TO ~50%abv, or 1 tsp of water per 30mL whisky

The herbal notes ascend in the nose, now joined by mossy smoke, baked plums, and hints of milk chocolate and almond extract. Smoked paprika, oregano and plum sauce fill the palate. The finish gets very sweet, like dessert wine sweet. Smoky residue and lime juice rests in the background.

DILUTED TO ~46%abv, or >1½ tsp of water per 30mL whisky

Oregano, lemon peel and wood smoke arrive first in the nose, followed by ink and almond extract. Straightforward peat and sweet on the palate, with a little bit of bitterness in the back. It finishes sweet and herbal.


It's difficult to squelch Ledaig's spirit, but this heavy cask almost succeeds. One can be thankful this whisky didn't sit in its sauced-up vessel for any longer. Perhaps this is a peated whisky for sherry bomb fans rather than a sherried whisky for peat bomb fans, if that makes sense. It's most complex at full strength, but drinks better once diluted. I'm not sure if all the parts ever really merge, but I am a sucker for all the plummy notes and dried herbs. Thus I'm won over despite myself.

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

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