Ledaig ‘Dùsgadh’ – 42 Year Old – 46.3%abv
Info: This contains some of the first spirit to be made at the distillery when it reopened in 1972. The old stills have since been decommissioned and used as part of the packaging. The replacement stills have now produced new spirit and in buying a bottle of this 24yo gets you a free bottle of 10yo in 2024 made from the spirit from those new stills. For the full PR info go here.
Colour: Deep and rich coppery gold. Old rusty tints.
Nose: Old and relaxed; a really smooth nasal delivery with a surprising amount of fresh papaya and tropical fruit notes coming through. There’s gentle smokey puffs and a leatheryness you get from old leather covered oak chairs. Some slight coffee notes followed by mushy plums, beeswax & honey.
Palate: Thick and oily, and although it’s got a reasonable abv it’s smooth and gentle. It’s easy going, yet there’s a youthfulness that older people often have on the inside, if not on the outside! Vanillary peat smoke is more apparent now; the longer you keep the dram on your tongue the more fruity and chocolatey flavours come gushing out, it goes on and on.
Finish: Sherry pops it’s head up in a really nice way here giving it a sweet and deep note that helps the finish last for a long time, eventually petering out into sweet puffs of smoke.
Thoughts: After such a long maturation many of the young and punchy smoke notes have settled right down and become the glowing embers at the end of an evening on a beach bonfire. For some reason I always expect such old drams to taste “old”, whatever that is. I’m often surprised by how youthful they can still be at these old ages, and that applies here. Obviously the long maturation comes shining out; it’s gentle, restrained and easy going, all the things I like about old drams, and what’s better is it’s not been ruined by loads of wood tannin leaching out, it’s balanced and whatever tannins are there back it up perfectly and don’t dominate. It’s not often you get to drinks drams of this age and price, so I’m absolutely thrilled to have been able to try this and add it to my whisky education. I hope you may one day get to track a wee dram down too.
Extra: Ledaig is a cracking dram from Tobermory, this particular expression might well be out of most people’s reach in terms of price, but do check out the rest of their range, it can be every bit as good as other smokey island malts.
Available: You can go find it yourself if you can afford it… £2050 a bottle, still available.
I’ve previously reviewed various other independent bottlings, including two Gordon & Macphail ones here and here, and an 8yo Dramboree release here.
Many thanks indeed to Ledaig for the sample, something I doubt I’d ever get to taste without your kindness.