Ledaig 10 year old
My recommended alternative to Islay
I’ve not talked a whole lot about Peated Scotch whisky yet on Canuckwhiskylover mostly because it’s been the Summer and over the course of the Summer I tend to not drink much Peated Scotches, I mostly stick to Bourbons and Canadian Whiskies because they are a little more suited to the heat… not to say I haven’t had a dram or two of some potent drams. Yesterday was my Birthday and my local haunt was very generous and bought me a dram of Laphroaig 10 which is as many of us know is really the king of the phenolic scotches… it’s actually fairly over the top in terms of Scotch and lucky for them I do love peat… if I was a lowlands guy I probably would have not even touched it. Hell, even in a tumbler I could smell it a mile a way, good stuff!
The island of Islay is pretty much the top of the mountain of peaty scotches and almost everything coming out of there is Peated at least somewhat (some obviously more then others). The issue is that most Islays these days are so fashionable that they are getting out of the reach of most Whisky fans. I love single malt, but some of the prices are just out of line at the NSLC. That doesn’t mean you have to pass on great single malt peaty moments. Some are fair, Bowmore 12 isn’t bad, Ardbeg 10 isn’t too bad and Laphroaig isn’t too bad for price. However one option you have on the same price range is to take a break of the Islays and head up to Mull and try out Ledaig.
Ledaig is a peated version of the Tobermory range, it’s a heavily peated Whisky that offers all the crazy smoke, ash, medicinal notes that you tend to associate with Islay and it does it with a craft presentation just like Ardbeg which is for me what I could actually compare it to in terms of profile. The Ledaig 10 year old comes in a nice, neat presentation with lots of information on the bottle and box. It’s bottled at a higher percentage (46.3) and is a natural color and says it is non-chill filtered.
These are big things for me personally. I like my whisky to be at least medium in body and texture not light and while there are lighter bodied Whiskies I love, the ones I tend to gravitate towards are non-filtered products that retain all their full natural character. Some people don’t like that, they don’t want fats and oils in the glass, they don’t want it turning hazy or anything like that and that’s fine, go with it, be your own Whisky lover and do what you want, I don’t care. But for me, a splash of water and a natural product just goes way further for me. Ledaig is checking all the boxes.
Originally however, I didn’t like this Dram. I thought it was trying too hard to be like Ardbeg or Laphroaig for example. There was also a very potent pepper note I found on the nose which just seemed to get in the way of almost everything other then smoke and peat. However this is why we don’t judge a book by it’s cover, a Woman by the first date and a movie by it’s trailer. Now my Ledaig 10 is down to the last 3 pours or so and I am lamenting it’s inevitable end this Fall because I just don’t think it’ll make it to December… first world problems for sure.
I will say very clearly that I’m not saying this is better then your classic Islays, I’m saying this is a perfectly viable alternative to those who need a change from their Ardbegs and Coa Ila while not straying so far that they are losing that holistic punch from the Peat. If you’re a die hard Ardbeggian and you buy this and say… damnit this is not the same then that’s your fault, not mine.
Matured for 10 years in Bourbon casks this Peatbomb really does measure up in the phenolic, smoky notes and if you’re not afraid of spending a cold evening out on the stoop nosing and sipping a way even if you’re shy about Peat, this could be a good de-flowering of your peat bomb cherry.
On the nose there is a very well balanced interplay between the big smoke and peat and sweet citrus lemon and honey. There is a big herbal note as well, pepper, sage, grapefruit and mint. A good bit of oakyness comes through as well with some hazelnut, a common note I get from heavily peated whiskies.
Tasting this medium plus dram I get a sour sweet arrival with the smoke and the peat smacking you across the face, a very fast arrival that holds nothing back sort of like how Talisker 10 just bottle tackles you to the floor with it’s profile. Peat, Mineral coastal notes, very herbal and a nice touch of pepper and heat. It’s young, but that complements the big peaty blast that comes on the mouth. Sweet, lemon and honey slight vanilla notes and a good oaky bite. Ledaig isn’t shy, it’s in your face. The finish has a medium plus length with peat, pepper, oak and mint.
Certainly well worth the $74.98 at the NSLC for a craft presented peat bomb. Laphroag 10 is on sale at the moment for $75.99, Ardbeg is selling for $78.99 so it’s comparable in price, style (relatively speaking) and quality. So if you’re on the look out for a different Peatbomb, with some similar characteristics then I would highly recommend this one!