• 94
  • 86
  • Reduced

Ledaig 18 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky (700ml)

Isle of Mull, SCOTLAND
Reduced from $220.00
$199. 00
$2388.00 Dozen
ABV: 46.3%

Jim Murray routinely derides it, others adore it. Many have never heard of it. Even peat freaks don't always talk about Ledaig in a positive light: “It smells of manure and tastes of wet dog”. Sometimes that may be true, but its peaty-earthy-barnyard notes combined with a whiff of the coast convey a sense of place and set it apart from most other Hebridean malts. They're primarily what Ledaig is all about. Made at Tobermory to a 38ppm phenol specification and pronounced letch-igg, (meaning ‘safe haven’ ), the distillery has been closed for almost half of its 220+ year history, repeatedly recovering from the brink of demolition. Three or four decades ago, its malts were variable to say the least- often feinty, rubbery or just plain average. Burn Stewart dramatically improved the quality through the 1990s while keeping true to Ledaig’s funky style. In 2013, new owners, Distell International decided to up the bottling strength to 46.3% abv, use no artificial colouring and not chill filter the whisky. If production numbers are anything to go by, they must be doing a lot right. There used to be a 50/50 split between unpeated Tobermory and peated Ledaig. Starting in 2022, Ledaig was increased to 70% and it's expected to dominate into the forseeable future. You can taste the results in NAS bottlings like ‘The Sinclair’, but for many, the high point of Ledaig’s gritty, meaty, elemental output remains the 18YO, first offered in 2015. 

Like its younger sibling, the 18 is an island style balancing sweet barley and sherry notes with sea and smoke. From a 30ml sample, the aromas are a little understated; A medley of ginger bread, cocoa, latex and wet rock over a peaty undercurrent later emphasises lanolin and fruit’n’nut chocolate. On entry this is a big boned dram: dense dried fruits are carried by a peaty, peppery surge. Wool-shed, roasted nuts and smokey dark chocolate follow through with excellent persistence. Moderately sherried and peaty, yes, but in an ashy, sooty, earthy way. Think Longrow more so than your typical 'Island profile'. 46.3% Alc./Vol. Non chill filtered.

Other reviews...  This 18 year old variant of Ledaig from Tobermory distillery on Mull was released in spring 2015 and is finished in oloroso sherry casks. Old warm leather predominates on the early nose, with salt, pencil shavings, a suggestion of asphalt, and dried fruit. Big fruit and spicy peat notes on the robust palate, which features sherry and a sprinkling of brine. Drying slowly, with licorice and marginally tannic oak behind persistent smoke. 86 points - whiskyadvocate.com, reviewed by Gavin Smith, Fall 2016

...This baby’s meant to represent ‘the rebirth’ of Ledaig’s original style. Well, if it’s anywhere near the glorious 1972, 1973 or 1974, we’ll have to cheer. Colour: pale gold. Nose: maybe… Theirs is, indeed, this feeling of coal smoke, old stove, burning tea, burning kelp and other seaweed (beach bonfire), or metal polish, lit cigars… Plus a layer of both fresh and old walnuts, and perhaps a smidgen of curry mayonnaise (what?) and mustard. Something ‘original’ indeed. Mouth: good dirty, earthy, spicy (curry again) and pleasantly pungent arrival, but with some candy sugar in the background, which feels just a tad out of place. But other than that, this baby’s much to my liking.  Finish: long, ashy, peaty, with always this candy sugar. Muscovado coating? That’s just a wee bit tiring. Comments: I find it very good but I’m guessing that as usual, the indies will be cleaner and closer to the distillate. Unless there’s sherry… 85 points - whiskyfun.com