Recently a friend and I exchanged two choice drams with each other; he sampled Cardhu 12-year Single Malt for the first time, while I drank Ledaig 10-year Single Malt.
My friend enjoyed the Cardhu for many of the same reasons I mentioned in my 'Whiskies Under $50' column. Cardhu's rich flavors are down right addictive. Still, it's entirely possible I scored the better deal by sampling Ledaig, given its interesting characteristics. I dig Ledaig!
Ledaig ' depending on whom you ask, "Ledaig" is pronounced as "led-jig" or 'le-chig' or "let-chick" ' is an extremely distinctive single malt crafted by Tobermory Distillery (formerly call Ledaig) on the Isle of Mull, in the Scottish Inner Hebrides. The only distillery on the island, Tobermory Distillery produces two brands of whisky: Ledaig is peated while Tobermory is not.
It took me quite some time to process Ledaig's distinctive flavors and then articulate what I tasted because it was totally unexpected. The pleasant surprise with Ledaig is that it does not taste like Talisker, or another heavily peated whisky from the region (Islay is nearby). Its smokey profile is restrained relative to many peated whiskies, but its other characteristics combine to make a very complex dram.
On the nose one will smell earthy and peaty aromas of the rugged Scottish coast, but also with notes of butter and smoked fish. It's bold and sweet with light heather notes and, perhaps, a slight whiff of licorice. One review I watched on YouTube also noted some burnt orange peel aromas, which I did not smell.
On the palate, one will taste the brine from the seaweed mixed in with the peat, giving a taste like fresh raw oysters, along with a slight iodine flavor, coupled with a fruity sweetness that adds complexity. Another reviewer also tasted the burnt orange peel flavors. The oak barrels the whisky is aged in also add traditional, mild vanilla notes; a couple drops water unleash the phenols, opening up the whisky to extract the sweet vanilla and apple notes even more. Still, Ledaig is smooth enough, despite the 46.3% ABV, that adding water is not necessary.
Finally, there's the long finish, which hangs around like a fine cigar.
Fantastic, complex and non-chill filtered, Ledaig 10 year pairs excellently with sea scallops. Generally priced at under $60 ($54.99 at BevMo!), this whisky is a steal!
Legend has it that buried gold treasure lies somewhere at the bottom of Tobermory Bay. Treasure hunters should not overlook the liquid gold made right on the Isle.
Also see The Kings County Distillery Guide to Urban Moonshining: How to Make and Drink Whiskey