Age: 10 years old
Ledaig is produced by Tobermory, the only distillery on the Isle of Mull. Tobermory distillery has had quite a turbulent past, and managed to survive despite multiple closures throughout the years. Since its latest reboot in 1993, the distillery has produced two styles of whisky: the fruity, unpeated Tobermory, and the smoky, maritime Ledaig. Ledaig means ‘safe haven’ in Gaelic, and indeed this peaceful bay is where Tobermory distillery is situated. It is somewhat ironic that the name Ledaig was given to the peated range, since these whiskies are anything but tranquil. Tobermory markets Ledaig with the tagline “wonderfully peated”, and this is no word of a lie. With its crisp smoke and medicinal character, Ledaig gives many Islay distilleries a run for their money. Despite this, Ledaig has received relatively little attention, and it seems that demand has remained relatively modest. Perhaps this is all for the best, since Ledaig sells at a very attractive price point. So at the risk of undermining what I just said, be sure to pick up a bottle when you have the chance, this whisky is well worth a try!
Colour: Old gold
Nose: Medicinal, as aromas of fresh seaweed emerge from the glass. This whisky has seaside written all over it, with notes of hemp rope, grilled lobster and the charred remains of a driftwood campfire. Despite its briny character, there is a definite freshness to the nose. Sweet scents of marzipan and stewed apples are joined by nutmeg and pencil shavings. Quite enticing!
Palate: Lively and intrepid, with a light peat smoke. The salty, maritime character returns, combined with spicy notes of cloves and cracked black pepper. Then an earthier profile opens up, suffused with flavours of vanilla, honey and ripe pears.
Finish: Deep and lasting. Ledaig 10 ignites in one last flare of peat smoke and dried seaweed, leaving a lingering aftertaste of dark chocolate. Very satisfying!
Verdict: Ledaig 10 year old is a captivating whisky that is flying under the radar somewhat. While the attention of most peatheads is turned largely to Islay whiskies, the distillers at Tobermory have shown they know their way around peated spirit too. Being one of the smokiest Island whiskies out there, Ledaig displays a medicinal character not found on other islands (Islay excluded). Combining this smoky ferocity with an excellent price-quality ratio, Ledaig 10 has come as a very positive surprise to me. If you like smoky whiskies, I cannot recommend this dram enough.