Not being an expert, my purpose of writing this is merely to maybe help others, like me, to find good options on their journey. So, to put this in context: this is me in a nutshell - I started floral (Glenkinchie, Dalwhinnie), and quickly moved into unpeated sherried varieties (Aberlour, Glendronach) and some little side-steps into port (Glenmorangie Quinta), but soon developed a desire for somewhat more rounded intensity and smoke (via Highland Park, Benromach), and then added further more intensity and spice (Talisher DE, wonderful). I've thoroughly enjoyed all the above - very much depending on my mood of the day (and the weather outside). Though I am struggling with the medicinal (can't find any pleasure with e.g. Lagavulin 16).
So, Ledaig 10... in short, this one is very nice and ticked many of the boxes for me. And, also provided a few minor surprises which was interesting!
The nose has plenty smoke. In fact, I had to add a wee drop of water and let it stand for 15min before I was able to pick up much nuance. However, after allowing it to open up a bit there's plenty in here! I'm met with vanilla. Fresh apple (quite green) and some ripe kiwi. There's clearly sweetness in here, but not the sherry kind of sweetness I've gotten used to, more vanilla mixed up with sawdust of white wood hanging in the air (if that makes sense!?). There's also some clear floral elements (this surprised me, I didn't think they could live together with such a smokey dram),
The palate is light, but then develops a certain creaminess which is very pleasant. Despite being 46% (I did add a drop of water though) there is no burn at all, only an increasingly warming feeling building. On the palate the peatiness is pronounced but it feels a little more metallic than billowing smoke. There's a touch of spice, nutmeg and 'toasted cinnamon' mixed with a mere pinch of pepper (major difference to e.g. the Talisker).
The finish is quite long. It's nice, though I'm surprised I like it as I wouldn't have guessed that the elements would be to my liking: there's some asphalt and a wee bit of tar. But its nice (don't ask me how asphalt and tar can be nice, it just is). as it lingers on, there's a shift towards burnt coffee mixed with really dark (90%+) bitter chocolate. It's a bit drying in the very finish...
In conclusion: for someone like me who wanted more smoke and nuance than e.g. the HP12, yet without the iodine and medicinal, this is great. It'll be a perfect companion to my Talisker DE for the evenings I want something full and peaty/smokey but without the intense pepper of the Talisker. Yes, having tried this sample I'll definetly buy a bottle of this.
@RianC Yes, I got myself a Caol Ila DE and I'm not convinced by it... And you're right about trying the variety, I almost think I'm getting more pleasure some days from finding my way around and nosing, and seeing how much nuance I can pick up in the nose and palate, than actually drinking the whisky. I don't remember which one it was but I recently tried one that I didn't like (taste wise), but I had to keep sipping it cause it was so interesting with all its intertwined elements. Now, I just got a recommendation for Ardbeg as very smokey, but not medicinal - that one will be exciting to explore as I've always stayed well away.
@RikS - Ha, yes I just saw @Hewie's comment about Ardbeg and smiled! Thing is, I see what he means in a weird kind of way. It's probably my favourite peated whisky (if not whisky full stop) as it has such a lot of complexity along with the peat. Smokey too but not quite as ash tray like as Laga or Laph ...