Ledaig (10 year)

Once cannot review Tobermory without also tasting its other bottling of peated malt, Ledaig. Much like Springbank releases a heavily-peated malt by the name of Longrow, Tobermory makes both an unpeated malt under its own name, and this heavily-peated malt. Both also acquire peat character from the water that flows to the distillery over bogs. Unlike many distilleries in the Scottish islands, Tobermory matures its malts in a warehouse on the mainland, not on the island.

Nose: Unmistakably peated. Oily, with tobacco, iodine, vinegar, and smoke. The earthy peat of Tobermory is here totally eclipsed by in-your-face smokiness. Very similar to Islay malts, particularly the brash younger ones. The peat here is somewhat muddy and unfocused.

Palate: Medium body with some creaminess. The peat takes a step back, allowing its origin as Tobermory to show. Those industrial oily notes emerge, along with some caramel and vanilla, and a good dose of ashy barrel char.

Finish: Complex and long. Cigar ash, smoking meats, salty brine, and seaweed. Now the peat is in better harmony with the malt.

With Water: Water seems unnecessary – it makes the peat smell more like cigarette ash, to me, although it may sweeten the palate.

Overall: A nose overly dominant with peat is improved by better balance on the tongue and in the finish. While still less focused and more “dirty” (in the sense of the assorted unpleasant side-effects of peat) than similarly-priced Islays, there is reasonable complexity. For someone who loves peat but has grown tired of the standards, Ledaig offers a different take. It is especially enlightening when tasted alongside its brother-in-arms, Tobermory. Like Tobermory, Ledaig benefits from long-aging, and the older (20+ years) malts are considered to be refined and complex. For that reason, and for the unfocused, muddy quality of the peat, I don’t recommend Ledaig 10-year, although it is priced more competitively than its sibling, Tobermory.

ScotchNoob™ Mark:

About The Distillery

This distillery is owned by Burn Stewart Distillers plc, and produces two single-malts: Tobermory, a dry, mid-peated dram and Ledaig, a heavily-peated malt in the Islay style. Both are used in the blends Scottish Leader and Black Bottle. The distillery is located on the Isle of Mull, a location geographically similar to Talisker on Skye. Tobermory was once the name of a blended whisky, and then a vatted malt, but adorned the distillery’s official single-malt bottling starting in 1989. Peaty water, entirely responsible for the smokiness of Tobermory, is collected from a dam near the Misnish Lochs and piped to the distillery. For Ledaig, the distillery uses peated barley. Both whiskies are aged on the mainland, not on Mull.

Ledaig (10 year)
46.3% ABV
ScotchNoob™ Mark:
Price Range: $43 - $50
Acquired: (30ml sample bottle) Master of Malt.
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5 Comments

5 Responses to Ledaig (10 year)

  1. Jason says:

    Disagree….

    This a decent single malt with an excellent price point. We sampled Ledaig 10 a few months ago at our bi-monthly whisky gathering. We all enjoyed it.

    • Hi Jason, Thanks for the comment – I’m glad to hear that you enjoyed Ledaig! Sometimes a malt just doesn’t agree with my personal tastes, a pitfall of doing these blog reviews. I encourage anyone who’s interested in expanding their experience with whisky to try all whiskies they can, whether I enjoyed them or not. My “Not Recommended” might very well be your next favorite malt!

      • Jason says:

        For what it is worth….I think this would make a great daily peated malt or even an affordable entry to peated malts. The Tobermory 10 is just as good at the same price of the Ledaig. For $100, someone could get a decent pair of single malts.

        Now, the $100 Tobermory 15 is another story. I’d give that a Try Before You plop down $100.

        PS – I realy enjoy your blog. Kudos to you and you work.

  2. Cobrito says:

    Enjoy your reviews, but I must respectfully disagree on this one. I get a strong lemon note both on the nose and palate, as well as herbal and hoppy notes, along with all the other notes you mention in a very complex mouthfeel both straight and with a splash of water, thanks to the unchillfiltered 46% abv. I do realize it is an acquired taste, but I think Ledaig is terrific.

    • Jason says:

      @Cobrito, THANKS!!! I am sitting here enjoying a few drams of Ledaig tonight. I picked on lemon as well. I couldn’t remember if lemon was mentioned when our group met a few months back. I emailed a couple of members and checked whiskyfun to compare notes. You confirmed it for me friend. Lemon oil on the nose and cigar ash mouth on the finish.

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