whisky newsOkay, folks! You’ve heard my opinions on the new Tobermory and Deanston Limited Editions from Distell. Now I’m back again, sacrificing a night out on your behalf (I know, I’m all heart) to cast my critical olfactory senses over the remaining Ledaig and three Bunnahabhain finishes!

Let’s Go….


Ledaig 21 1997Ledaig 21 Year Old 1997 Manzanilla Finish, 52.9%, RRP £160

Colour: Golden Sand.

Nose: Soot clinging to damp coal embers, menthol and olbas oil. Treacle toffee fudge, crushed hazelnuts and slight candied lemon zest.

Palate: Balanced with a medium feel. Toasted oak and wispy smoke, a little meaty down the middle. Lightly salted dark chocolate with coffee, mint butterscotch and lime pith.

Finish: Medium length. Kippers, sweet smoke and crunchy nut Key lime pie.

Overview: Not what I was expecting! Previous experience had me waiting for a more citrus-led smokefest, but this Ledaig is a tad more mysterious and shadowy. I’m a big fan of these vintages of peated Tobermory and this has thrown me a bit of a curveball, I shall have to meditate on this one!


Bunnahabhain Port 2007Bunnahabhain 2007 Port Finish, 55.3%, RRP £90

Colour: Red leather-stained cricket bat sweet spot.

Nose: Bright and vibrant with summer strawberry, thickening to Kendal Mint Cake buttercream icing, with a dense sponge base. 

Palate: Cold and light initially, a second wave of those summer berries. Darkening once more through an instant of sourness into eucalyptus and dark treacle, very faint underlying spices with some fennel and cinnamon before a lemony fizz and fade.

Finish: The lemon initially bridges from the palate and again the darkness descends, but only to mild twilight, before a lighter breeze of icing sugar with flexes of chopped mint.


Bunnahabhain French Brandy 2007Bunnahabhain 2007 French Brandy Finish, 52.5%, RRP £90 

Colour: Polished Gold

Nose: Thick salted butter and toffee with a touch of sour cream and a far-off heathery note.

Palate: Mmmm, rich and chewy buttermint, layers of sticky, fudgy, spicy ginger cake. Burnt caramel atop of apple tarte tatin and charred walnuts. 

Finish: The char subsides and we roll back down a hill of sweet herby butter into a vat of chewy caramel with the smell of spearmint in the air.


Bunnahabhain 1988 Marsala Finish, 47.4%, RRP £450

Colour: Pine

Nose: OOOOOH, a thick and fruity one! Mango and pineapple from the tropics, smoked Parma ham with a haze of cigar smoke followed by a creamy peppercorn sauce. *Inner Monologue: “YAY!”*

Palate: Moreish, with those tropical fruits clinging with a very slight waxiness through to dark ground coffee flexed with eastern spices. A thick lava-like flow of caramelly loveliness which regresses into blackcurrant and blueberry (and a very faint gooseberry) coulis sprinkled with lemon rind.

Finish: Long, slow and luxurious. Warm menthol wisps into light, fruity berry juices, some elderflower and the far-off summer haze of burning gorse.

Overview: *Outer Monologue: “PUNCH THE SKY!”* Wow, that last Bunna was good. Old school fruitiness and a little Marsala innovation to boot. Hats off to the folks at Distell for that one.

If I was at first a touch confused at the Ledaig, its three cousins from Islay have managed to pull me around somewhat! If I’m being really picky, I’d like to see some of the older vintages being presented straight out of bourbon occasionally. I’m all for innovation and new ideas (and Kirsty has more than proved she knows what she’s doing with the maturation of these whiskies), just once in a while a nice vatting of some older Bourbon casks to show off the “naked spirit” as god intended, so to speak.

Otherwise, another strong year for Distell’s Limited Edition releases. And with Diageo just about to preview their own yearly offerings, on paper at least they could well be in for some competition here!

Thanks for tuning in folks! See you in the webosphere soon!


P.S. In case you’ve forgotten from the last bazillion times: YOU DON’T HAVE TO BELIEVE ME! GO OUT AND TRY SOME YOURSELF!