Last night I spent some time with the Ledaig 10 years scotch. Ledaig [led-chig] scotch whisky is distilled on the Island of Mull at the Tobermory distillery. Ledaig uses a peated malt (peated to 35-40 ppm?), while Tobermory whisky uses unpeated malt (although there is apparently peat in the water source). I purchased this bottle locally for $43, which puts it in the same range as whiskies like Laphroaig 10, Bunnahabhain 12, Clynelish 14, Glenfarclass 12, and Macallan Cask Strength. The Ledaig wasn’t really on my radar, but I saw the video review of this from PeatLuvr on YouTube (link below) and decided I wanted to try it. [Weird - The small image to the right looks much greener on my screen than the full size image when you click on it]
My first impression upon putting the glass to my nose is of rubber (sulphur?), like when you’re standing in a tire store. It’s a pungent smell that makes me want to pull away immediately. Now, if I go back four or five times for additional sniffs, I seem to be able to get past that first impression. The rubber starts turning to egg, and there’s a sweetness with it, along with lemon zest. There’s also definitely a very present peat component. However, if I put the glass down for a little bit and come back to it…Boom, there’s that pungent rubber again. I’ve had this a few times and it takes me a while to get used to the nose each time.
On the palate, things pick up for me. Strong peat (this is what I bought it for), along with a peppery heat. That’s better. On the finish, that pepper sticks on the tongue a bit, but there’s also some alcohol burn. This one really seems young and temperamental both on the nose and finish. I also get a little bit of that rubber again coming up through the nostrils with the peat at the end.
Conclusion – I’m a little mixed on this one. I think there’s something about the output from the Tobermory distillery that doesn’t quite sit right with me. I’ve tried a Tobermory before as well, and thought there was something slightly “off”, maybe a bit sulphury again. It’s not a total loss, as I do enjoy the peat/pepper explosion on the palate. For general drinking of this bottle, I think I’m going to relegate it to tumblers and not spend much time nosing it. I also need to try adding a little water to see how that changes it. I’ll drink this bottle, but don’t have any plans to purchase another any time soon. There are a lot of other peaty malts out there that I enjoy more.
- Whisky Magazine - Dave Broom and Arthur Motley provide their impressions and scores. Neither one of them mentions rubber or sulphur, although Arthur does talk about the sweet egg smell.
- Whisky Pages – Some info on the distillery, as well as tasting notes and rating. These guys seem pretty positive on the Ledaig 10, not mentioning any particular negatives. They give it a fairly average score, though.
- YouTube (PeatLuver) – Tom really likes it, and doesn’t seem to take any offense to the pungent nose. Where I get rubber/sulphur, then sweet egg product, he gets “fruity”. Maybe I just have a mental block based on my first impression (tire store).