Thursday 15 March 2018

Ledaig x4: Wilson Morgon, LMDW, Signatory & Douglas Laing Showdown

Hi everyone,

I recently wrote an article on why I love Ledaig so much, so you can head over there for more background on how obsessed I am.
I’ve reviewed a bunch of Ledaig already but I realised I hadn’t posted many from my own collection, so here are some of the Sherried ones. Four Ledaigs, each more Ledaig than the last!

Ledaig 2005 Wilson & Morgan 48.5%
Colour: Dark Gold
Body: Medium/Full
Nose: Lots of butter on this one. Strikes a good balance between the oily/natural Ledaig and the meaty/Sherry Ledaig. Cherry pie, lemon and orange, malty smoke, sea salt, quite Laga 16 like actually with the light Sherry and smoke.
Water: Fresher with more of the citrus elements now, orange and lemon, grist, clean smoke, still oily though. Grapefruit after a minute, chalky.
Taste: Soft and oily, buttery natural Ledaig, not much of the Sherry but some orange and lemon citrus, some leather, malty smoke, some drier oak then into the finish. The Butter-y-ness really takes me back to the first time I tried Ledaig… (back in review #87!) mmmmm, delicious memories.
Water: Softer with a better balance, particularly in the development and finish. Fresher and maltier with more of the citrus at first then more earthy into the finish. The peat starts coming out a little more after a bit more time with more power.
Finish: Short/Medium length. Goes a little out of balance with some rubber, lemon and black pepper.
A vatting of 6 Sherry finished casks bottled in 2015. A drop of water really brings this one together, as I suspected it might on first tasting it.

Ledaig 2004 Artist #5 60.4%
Colour: Dark Amber
Body: Full
Nose: Ethereal and quite closed at first, think this will take some time to oxidise. You get a sense of the sweetness and smoke. Starts to open up after 10+ mins with BIG Glendro-esque sherry, flinty, leather, overbrewed tea, cherry stones. Coming back to it after half the bottle I'm getting diving gear after a dive, sea soaked neoprene wetsuit, wet leather and coal. Complex, and quite different to most Ledaigs I’ve tried.
Water: Frustratingly closed for me! Cherry syrup? Wet hay? Hot coals? More straightforward sweetness, orange.
Taste: Soft actually, builds though. Potent stuff this. Sweet, big sweetness, cherry, very rich, intense toffee, leather, some dry oak backs it up. All about slow power. When that recedes, you then get some of the Ledaig peppery meaty smoke. Dirty, sooty, wet hay, wet rocks, salty. Coming back after half the bottle, there's a lot more of the smoke now, with lots of wet hay, a little Brora-like barnyard, fields and cowpat and heavy sweetness.
Water: Softer, more Ledaig-like with peppery spices, black pepper, some meatiness, hot coals, soot, gristy smoke, gritty, mineral with crushed slate maybe? Very oily with the water actually, really clings to the mouth.
Finish: Long length. More dirty, sooty smoke, kiln, engine and mouth watering oils. After time in the bottle there's more of the barnyard with cow shit... Um, in a good way.
Cask 900179, distilled 2004, bottled 2015 at 10yo. I was disappointed with this at first tasting (probably would have scored it in the low 80’s) as it’s more Sherry than Ledaig but there's more Brora elements after some time in the bottle, which, of course, is brilliant. Water doesn’t improve it despite the strength.

Ledaig 2005 Signatory Cask Strength 58%
Colour: Amber
Body: Full
Nose: OhmyfuckinggodLedaigissogoddamngood! Sweet, smoky, meaty, peppery and complex. It's got that venison thing I found in 900161, sweet Oloroso soaked raisins and nuts, nice touch of leather, lifting icing sugar and fresh orange citrus. A little wood polish, vanilla and lovely dark chocolate notes develop. After a little bit you get some of the farmy ledaig notes, wet hay and straw, earthy. Gorgeous nose.
Water: A fascinating and rather lovely combination of dark and light. Dark chocolate and fresh coffee, more of the lifting orange peel and fresh juice than before. Cinnamon comes through too. Actually, it gets sweeter and sweeter with more time- Orange juice, orange chewing gum.
Taste: Intense, powerful. Peppery and spicy to start, lots of cracked black pepper, ginger, a little cinnamon develops then green peppercorns, complex meaty, Sherry, nuts, walnut, leather, more meaty venison, then plum and peppery meat. There is a bit of lifting pomegranate mid-palate but it's a bit swamped by the spices.
Water: Softer and less spicy, more balance, more orange. Black pepper, pastrami, chilli chocolate.
Finish: Long length. Oily and mouth coating, sooty and slightly dirty with sweetness then spiciness.
Cask 900160, 1st Fill Sherry Butt. Distilled 08/11/2005, bottled 22/11/2016 at 11yo. A real tour de force of everything I love about Ledaig. Power, complexity and balance.

Ledaig 1997 Old Particular 48.1%
Colour: Amber
Body: Medium
Nose: A slightly sulphury one. That Sherried meaty Ledaig with cheap bacon, outdoor BBQ smoke, raw steak, raw venison, pulled pork in BBQ sauce. Not a dram for vegetarians. Alongside it is a big malty and gristy smokiness, some golden raisins, orange, rubber and leather, dark chocolate, some sweeter syrupy fruit in a crumble, Weetabix and a touch of peppery oak. It IS a little feinty with this chemical chlorine thing, but it pulls it off. Just.
Taste: Thin arrival, not much developing then a big spiciness comes in with an explosion of black pepper and a kind of sulphury meatiness, that raw venison note, then darker notes of rubber, leather, dark fruity with raisin, fig, some date, 85% dark chocolate and then softens again into the finish.
Finish: Medium length. Some sweetness from the sherry fights it off with the dying smoke. A little harsh peppery note.
I can totally understand why people don't like this, and it's not exactly balanced but it's my type of dram. Loads of complexity to the nose, bit spicy on the taste but the finish lets it down. As the level has been going down in the bottle it’s been getting softer and softer.

Thanks for reading!

Scotch Reviews #586-#589
Whisky Network Reviews #691-#694

Network Average: 74.7
Best Score: 93
Worst Score: 12
0-49 Terrible
50-59 Bad
60-64 Just About OK
65-69 Ok to Good
70-74 Good
75-79 Very Good
80-84 Excellent
85-89 Superb
90+ Magnificent

Full Disclosure Disclaimer: I currently work as a Brand Ambassador for Penderyn Distillery. The views expressed here are purely my own and do not reflect the views of Penderyn Distillery or The Welsh Whisky Company. I try to maintain as much objectivity as I can but feel free to take my reviews with as big a pinch of salt as you like. Furthermore, my rating scale is NOT based on a Parker type wine scoring scale or a school/college/university % or A-F grade score. You can find more on my scoring here. I apologise for any seemly low or 'bad' scores given with my system and I am sorry I can't say only nice things. Please keep in mind that I am ethically compromised and I am unable to produce 100% unbiased reviews.

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