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Ledaig 10 Year Old

Gourmet Rubber

0 994

@AboutChoiceReview by @AboutChoice

6th Mar 2011


  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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Ledaig (led-chig) 10-year single malt scotch is distilled at the Tobermory Distillery on the Hebridean Isle of Mull, in the western Island region of Scotland. On the bottle is written “wonderfully peated”, and if this was intended as a 1-line review, I would be finished … as Ledaig is indeed peated in a wonderful way.

The other expressions from this distillery are the Tobermory 10 and Tobermory 15, which are unpeated. The Ledaig is heavily peated, from both the water, and from the use of 100% peat-dried barley. Ledaig is not chill-filtered, and probably not colored. Bern Stewart now owns the Tobermory, Ledaig, Black Bottle, Bunnahabhain and Deaston brands. He has been raising the ABV (46.3), creating new glass bottles and promoting non-chill-filtering for his brands, and from what I have tasted, he is distilling some very promising malts.

Bottle Nose: Nothing is held back … removing the cork releases a captivating bouquet, even from a meter away, of pungent essences of oily and syrupy peat, honey, marzipan, nuts, glue, rubber, sulphur and brine. No smoke, but a honey and sulphury type of peat. Someone suggested creosote on railroad tracks (a fond memory), and maybe that is what I was trying to identify. There is something in this incredible aroma package that hopelessly draws you into captivity.

Glass Nose: Quite heavy with honey, a little rubber, glue, brine and a little citrus. There is no difference with water.

Palate: It is important to note that the optimal experience for me did not occur until after about 5 sips, where the sense of youngness disappears, and a party of pungent flavors that dance together in complete harmony evolves. We have tingly and briny iodine, a dark brown sugar, rubbery sweetness, honey and oily peat, sulphur, marzipan and cinnamon … just about as the nose predicted. This is similar to Longrow CV, which after experiencing Ledaig, now appears mild and behaved, but still tantalizing.

Finish: A lovely warm and glowing fairly long grand finale of slightly sulphury and rubbery sweet peat integrated with spices and brown sugar, and soft, controlled smoke .. and maybe a whiff of dry campfire. Rubber was never so good.

Conclusion: Ledaig 10 is neither a fine, elegant nor reserved whisky, but rather it is pungent, engaging, complex, colorful, flavorful and naughty … and it may not be for everyone. Ledaig is gregarious, and more fun than most of its neighbors from Islay, and is a step up from its cousin, Longrow CV … which is already quite tantalizing. Ledaig is a colorful and funky whisky, and while the fine popular Islays have a place in my cabinet, they now seem somewhat reserved and one-dimensional compared to Ledaig 10.

The peaty character of Ledaig (and Longrow and Springbank) is that of a sweet, sulphur, rubber and maybe bacon character, as compared to the Islay fire pit smoke (in my opinion, and perhaps excepting Ardbeg). Ledaig is neither fireplace, road tar, auto shop nor seaweed, but rather a pungent, intertwined sweet, briny, rubbery and peaty composition … which is well-balanced, and it is quite amazing that it all works. If you like Springbank and Longrow CV, Ledaig 10 is your next destination … but please try not to forget about your first love … Springbank.

And, to share with you, my west highland trio, that I have recently been pleasantly courting and enjoying, you need to have Springbank 10, then Longrow CV (both from Campbeltown), and finally Ledaig 10. These all seem to share the same genes with increasing levels of depth, intensity and wildness. After this adventure, you may actually find it difficult to go back to your previous malt favorites. I have always enjoyed this type of peated malt in which peat is a valuable team player, but not the main show … others are Bruichladdich Rocks, Jura Superstition and Ardmore Trad Cask.

And, just as a bearing of comparison … just as a fine malt like Bruichladdich Peat or Lagavulin will nicely compliment an afternoon or dinner reception, Ledaig 10 will be the malt to take you to the all night party.

Score 94/100 in its peated, non-wine-finished category.

Related Ledaig reviews


markjedi1 commented

I should try this one immediately. Enticing!

11 years ago 0

olivier commented

Yes this new expression of the Ledaig 10yo at 46.3% is truly fantastic.

However, beware of the previous 10yo OB (plain white label on long bottle). I have both and I have never been able to get used to the older one. In your review, you mention that "It is important to note that the optimal experience for me did not occur until after about 5 sips, where the sense of youngness disappears, and a party of pungent flavors that dance together in complete harmony evolves.". This is quite true of the new expression, but that is exactly the problem with the older one. No matter how many sips you take it never tasted better for me.

11 years ago 0

drinix commented

I like this review! @AboutChoice what do you think of the new Tobermory 10? Is it worth a try?

11 years ago 0

Pudge72 commented

Thank you @aboutchoice for a wonderful review. This Ledaig appeals to the 'whisky adventurer' in me, and it has been duly added to my wishlist!

The novice in me appreciates the comparison between the Springbank 10, Longrow CV, and Ledaig 10. I will try to make sure to try these three in the order outlined (LCBO does not currently have Longrow CV in stock, though the bottling is listed).

11 years ago 0

AboutChoice commented

You're welcome @Pudge72, and I hope you can find some Ledaig 10. My supplier of this bottle seems to be out of it, and now I'm feeling panicky :) @drinix, I have not tried the new Tober 10, and I usually did not care for the Tober 10 40% (unpeated).

11 years ago 0

rwbenjey commented

Picked this up last night. I'll be trying it later today and then again for next weekends tasting :)

10 years ago 0

dannyboy commented

Tasted a dram of this at a recent festival and was sold immediately! What a nose eh! Seeing the non-chill filtered and 46% ABV made it a no-brainer to buy ;)

10 years ago 0

PeatyZealot commented

Ordered it for €26,- :) Cant wait till its in after reading this.

9 years ago 0

GBrough commented

This was a whisky i saw at my local bevmo, and decided on a whim to get it instead of Jura Prophecy. I am enjoying the strong brine and the feel of sitting at the beach eating oysters, I got a tad bit of smoke like from a fire at a beach.

8 years ago 0

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