The heavily peated Ledaig wasn’t officially re-produced until 1996, meaning that there isn’t a huge amount of the older stuff out there.
What there is is sometimes mislabelled Tobermory, and at other times, only lightly peated. Here’s a few today that I’ve tasted recently.
Ledaig 1993 Wilson & Morgan 51%
Nose: The smoke has had time to oxidise giving it more fruit- More like a Talisker really, red apple, black pepper, sea salt, some orange, smoke backing it all, nicely balanced. More funky with time, some cheddar cheese, something slightly savoury.
Taste: Sharp and sour start, acidic red apple and spiky oak, green and black peppercorns, again quite Talisker-like, quite spicy, maritime smoke and sea salt and lemon.
Finish: Short/Medium length. Power gone completely, a little red apple, dry oak and spice left. Bit of a disappointing finish.
Bottled 2018 at 25yo. A Ledaig in my year! Could easily be an old Talisker. Great nose but it gets more and more tired as the taste goes on.
Ledaig 1994 Gordon & Macphail 47.1%
Colour: Light Gold
Nose: Lemon, grapefruit and sea salt, ozone, a little light cherry and some light cheese lurking in the background, rock pools and sea wind, gives a sense of open space.
Taste: A little weak to start, salt and lemon, grapefruit and cherry, then it gets going with dirty soot and orange, very oily, funk-mozzarella?, green olives and brine.
Finish: Short/Medium length. Fades quite quickly with some salted chocolate, black pepper and green olives.
Bottled 2017 as an exclusive for Germany. Unpeated Ledaig the rep told me... Soooo NOT Ledaig then?
Ledaig 1997 Cadenhead's 53.9%
Nose: Salinity at first nosing. Sea salt, coastal with a far off beach bonfire, oysters, grilled prawns and green olive. Also leather and classy oak, chocolate powder. A little more chocolatey over time with milk chocolate and praline. Very nice and really interesting nose. Not full of the usual Ledaig powerful smoke, but more restrained.
Water: Fresher, more coastal, oily and a little fresh rubber. Pencil eraser. Not such a fan of this style, preferred it neat.
Taste: Citrus arrival, lemon and then a wonderful transition into a more active development. More of that citrus, lemon, orange and lime juice all mixed together, some smoke but more complex coastal flavours coming through. A little green olive, sea salt, salt rimmed margarita. Oily.
Water: Softer and less citric, less acidity, builds slowly with some lemon, earthy notes, some vanilla, leather, then more and more salty with that salt rimmed margarita.
Finish: Medium/Long length. Oily citrus juice continues then more gristy malt and leathery smoke.
Aged 19 years, from a Bourbon hogshead. Better neat IMO. So glad I bought a bottle of this when I spied it in the Netherlands.
Thanks for reading!
Scotch Reviews #740-#742
Whisky Network Reviews #878-#880
Network Average: 75.1
Best Score: 94
Worst Score: 12
60-64 Just About OK
65-69 Ok to Good
75-79 Very Good
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.