Well, it’s a chilly but beautiful sunny evening here in York. Whisky Lounge HQ is all abuzz with our usual goings on, tastings here there and everywhere in our never ending mission to bring whisky to the people. However, I’m pretty much up to speed on what needs to be done so I thought I’d retire to the sofa and enjoy the sunshine with Lily aka #thewhitewhiskywolf and, seeing as I’m not driving tonight, a wee dram. Purely for medicinal and review purposes, I have liberated from the Vault an independent Whisky Lounge bottling of 12-year-old, Single Cask Ledaig.
Off the West coast of Scotland lies a rainy and windswept place – the Isle of Mull. Where the harbour village of Tobermory gives a refuge and a name to the isle’s only distillery. Originally named Ledaig, meaning “safe harbour” in Gaelic and pronounced “Ledchig” apparently. Ledaig is the name now given to all peated produce from this cracking distillery with a wonderful and sometimes chequered history. Off the beaten whisky path, Tobermory and Ledaig whiskies are relatively unknown and fairly hard to come by. Although those who love peat and want something other than Islay malt tend to seek out the Ledaig. Hence my choosing to enjoy one this fine evening. The temperature just begins to drop as the sun starts to fall in the sky and a whisky is perfect to accompany these fading daylight hours.
So, this TWL bottling of Ledaig is a robust 58.1% after 12 years maturation in ex-bourbon barrels. Very clean and bright on the eye, a lovely light straw colour in the bottle. As soon as it’s poured the aromas assail the nose. No shrinking violet, this whisky wants to be noticed! Peat, but not as you know it. Clean, fresh almost. A wonderful cereal smell, that reminds me of harvest time here in Yorkshire, with Combines working late across the Wolds and a haze of dust glowing in the autumn sun. Without a drop of water, this is a fierce proposition to tackle. Huge flavours. The alcohol really hits your senses, strips your taste buds clean. An assault of peat that goes on and on. The cereal notes adding a sweet refrain that outlasts the peat and mellows the experience. Not unpleasant at all. However, now let’s try it with water.
Altogether a different whisky. The alcohol takes backstage to the peat and the water seems to balance the sweetness perfectly. There is a wonderful finish of liquorice, I think it’s liquorice at least. The flavours are all up on the tip of your tongue and the roof of your mouth. Then an abiding drift of smokiness at the back of your palate. This is unlike any Islay whisky I can think of and fabulous for that. It’s something I love, peated whisky, with a different edge!
Now I’d be lying if I said I haven’t tried this before. I have, on several occasions indeed. This is possibly one of my favourite whiskies at the moment and I enjoy it with a big hoppy Pale Ale. It stands up beautifully to the ale and the flavours compliment each other so well. I think a good selection of cheese and slices of apple would work well too. Apple, yep that’s one of the things I noticed in the whisky but couldn’t put my finger on.
Now I know what you’re thinking. Where can I get my hand on a taste of this fine spirit? I’ll tell you where. The Yorkshire Whisky Festival at the Knavesmire in York on the 21st of October is where!
So come along, join us and raise a dram or two.