I tried a sample of this from a friend's bottle and just had to go get my own while the shop still had a couple bottles. Ledaig is distilled at Tobermory Distillery on the Isle of Mull and is their peated spirit. This expression is independently bottled by the Creative Whisky Co. under their "Exclusive Malts" lineup.
This Ledaig is from cask 13, a refill hogshead, was distilled on Nov 8, 2005, and is 11 years old. The barrel yielded 275 bottles. Neat in a Glencairn.
Nose: A lot going on here. Yes it's a bit smoky, but the smoke doesn't overtake things at all. The smoke here, to me, is closer to medicinal Islay smoke as opposed to creamy highland smoke, but not full-on Laphroaig/Ardbeg medicinal. There is blackened caramelized bacon, and a bit of dark chocolate. Very fruity as well. Red apples, ripe pears, ripe red berries, and some citrus too. Red twizzler candy, white pepper, and oak show up the more you nose it. The way the smoke, chocolate, and sweet fruit just dance around each other is absolutely sublime. Each is distinct and yet perfectly compliments the other. I could nose this for days. Complex, and supremely balanced.
Palate: The whisky is feisty, showing it's relative youth and high proof at 57.6%. The palate is citrusy, smoky, oaky, and peppery. White pepper and chili powder. Smoked fish with a bit of salinity. Less sherry hogshead influence on the palate, as the red fruit notes, while still present, take a back seat to the smokier, meatier notes. Chocolate is here too. If you've ever had those specialty dark chocolates with the orange peel and chilis inserted into the chocolate, it tastes kind of like that but just add smoked meat and salinity. The more sips I take the more I notice the red fruits coming back. Again, the complexity and balance of this whisky is superb.
Finish: Everything on the palate carries over to the finish and leaves me waiting for another sip to enjoy and analyze. The longer you wait in between sips (while you enjoy the nose some more), the more the smoke takes over.
Overall: Smoky, meaty, oaky, fruity, peppery. This is complex, and extremely well balanced. I'll tell you what it's like: take Talisker 57N, make it even better (it's already good), and age it in an inactive refill sherry hogshead. Unless I taste something god himself made in the next month (I'm still trying to source this year's Laphroaig 10CS), this is my whisky of the year for 2021.
Oh, and happy Thanksgiving everyone!