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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  • 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!

      • 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.

  • 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.

    • @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.

  • All I can say is that this is my favourite scotch of all time. I keep coming back for it and as it is no longer available in the LCBO I am trying to find it elsewhere so I can buy a case. Only half a bottle left on my shelf and it will be missed with sorrow if I cannot find more. Honestly, when compared against Laphroaig Quarter Cask most people prefer the latter. But I still come back to this one.

  • I have also come to love Ledaig 10. With the non-chill filtering, no caramel coloring and higher ABV I’ve come to like it more than my usual peaty go-to’s: Laphroaig and Ardbeg 10. Wish more places carried it though… half the liquor stores in NYC and most of the bars have never even heard of it. I think that’s going to change though… as I’m sure that I won’t be the only person asking for it.

  • I can only wholeheartedly agree to my two predecessors:
    The Ledaig 10yo is an outstanding dram in my humble opinion with quite a unique taste, which is something you have to look for these days. It is a whisky with character.
    Of course if you do not like the somewhat medicinic punch of this peat-oriented, earth, yet also sweet dram, you might better step back.
    Anyway, I find this blog very inspiring and I keep coming back.
    Thumbs up for your good work, Scotchnoob!

  • My take on this distinctive single malt is that once you get past the somewhat off-putting nose, the palate and finish are quite lovely, indeed. Right now, my favorite 2 bottles in my current collection of 45 are both independent bottles of Ledaig. 1 is from Signatory’s unchillfiltered collection – aged 10.5 years in a first fill sherry butt. The contrast of the Ledaig peat blast with the big sherry influence is simply to-die-for ($60/46%). The 2nd bottle is an Exclusive Malt from The Creative Whiskey Company. 18 year Ledaig distilled in 1997, aged in ex bourbon casks and finished in some type of oak cask. Absolutely spectacular – thick mouth coating precedes a scrumptious finish ($100/50.2%). I admit another thing I like about Ledaig is showing off to my buddies that I actually know how to properly pronounce it! (OK – it doesn’t take much to impress my friends. Maybe they just act impressed so I’ll offer them another dram.)

  • Dear mate,
    Tasted like crap.. I HATE IT mate…

    ISLAY and TALISKER are heaven

    Kind regards,

  • I found Ledaig a few years back, it was a good alternative to the islay versions. To me there was a lot going on there . True it wasn’t as refined as say A laphroaig 18, but it was very pleasant . I can’t put it into words why I like it so much. Maybe I should buy a fifth and six bottle to try and figure it out. By the way my favourite store was sold out!

  • I was not terribly impressed with Ledaig 10. The peat was alright, but I found the sweetness to be somewhat cloying…as if the peat and the malt were not balanced very well. For a good bit less money (Ledaig is $70 in the Deep South where I live) you can get some of the very best malt that Islay has to offer.

  • This review, and the comments herein, has me looking forward to tasting my Ledaig 10, another solitary, clearanced-priced bottle on the shelf whose siren call I answered.

    As someone who likes peaty Islay scotches, I am really interested in tasting another take on peated scotch, this time from the island of Mull. What really intigues me about Mark’s notes are the “tobacco” on the nose, the “industrial oily notes” on the palate, and relish the idea of “smoking meats and salty brine” in the finish. Yum on all three counts and hope I too find those aspects when I get around to opening my bottle.


  • This has grown on me over the last cpl months. Ledaig 10, love it as much if not just a smitten better than laphroaig Quarter Cask. I love Laphroaig 10 and Ardbeg 10 as well but feel Ledaig 10 trumps them both.