I have always preferred Ledaig to its Tobermory alter ego (Ledaig being the peated expression made at Tobermory distillery) but have never come across an independent bottling that I have enjoyed as much as an official expression.
Step forward this offering from Gordon & MacPhail. This expression forms part of their Private Collection, which appears to be an outlet for some of their more unusual finishes, most of which appear to be involving wine casks.
I have already tried (and very much enjoyed) a 1988 Cote Rotie Linkwood and a 1991 Crozes-Hermitage Balblair. I still have a 2002 Cote Rotie Tormore lying around that I still have to review…
This particular bottling has been finished in first fill ex Hermitage wine casks. For those not familiar with Hermitage wines (I include myself in this, I had to Google…) they are regarded as quite powerful wines with a very deep colour and a firm tannic feeling.
Ledaig 2005, IB, Gordon & MacPhail Private Collection, 45%abv, sample swap (available here)
Nose: Mildly sulphurous on first inspection, a strong meaty note and a feeling of redcurrant sharpness overlay a soft smoke. There is a random appearance of nuts and the faintest waft of chocolate.
Palate: Smoke pushes through the tannic fruits that start the palate. There is some slightly salty red apple, orange (perhaps even chocolate orange) and raisins. Peated phenols appear alongside some faint wood. It feels quite meaty and heavy in the mouth, in a sort of Mortlach-esque way.
Finish: Lingering tannic and fruity smoke alongside some mild ash and a touch of sea spray. The dominant fruit notes have all but disappeared and the Ledaig distillery character reveals itself.
There are some strong notes here all fighting for dominance and it certainly was an interesting dram to spend time with. The distillate has clearly taken a lot of character and flavour from the cask.
Fruity. Meaty. Smoky. Punchy. All good qualities indeed, I’m just not sure I enjoy them fighting for supremacy in my glass all at once.
Thanks to Stew over at The Malt Mentalist for arranging the sample.
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