Ledaig 2004 GM (blind)

"Watch out for this one (if you can still find), all the dirty peat diggers! Very nice cask strength Ledaig from Gordon & MacPhail"

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Ledaig can be considered as one of the best non-Islay peated whisky, at least that is what I think, especially among independent bottlers. The last couple of years, young independent Ledaig’s are regularly released, and many of them are very good value for money. The same holds for what we have in our glass today. A Ledaig from 2004 from the Cask Strength series of the well-known bottlers of Gordon & MacPhail. This series has been discontinued in 2018 to merge into their Connoisseurs series, which is now released at cask strength. This “new” series has received many good reviews lately, although I find it somewhat disappointing that prices of most bottlings have surpassed €100. But what can we do, prices are rising and bang-for-your-buck bottlings become rarer. Anyway, let’s try some rather cheap old glory from yesteryear.

Nose

Farmy peat. I don’t think I can describe it any other way. Typical Ledaig profile in my experience. Dirty with a few drops of lemon and a pinch of salt in the back. Sea water, smouldering wood, hints of struck matches, silage, cow stables, grass during a hot summer streak. Brings me right back to my childhood when we were playing at my grandparents farm. What amazes me is that this apparently comes from first-fill sherry hogsheads, because that does not show at all. But I really don’t mind. Maybe there some faints notes of chocolate cake and nuts in the background that provide some more depth. Baked apples, slightly burned raisins, a small drop of honey, smoked mackerel and old leather make there appearance. Add to that faints hints of orange mint and lemon verbena. Just lovely and it feels much older than it actually is.

Taste

Sweetish, soft but firm peat mixed with mud, tar, lime juice and a hint of candied orange skin. Maybe you could call it simple, but it is oh so tasty. The balance between the peat, coastal notes and citrus fruits is almost perfect. The strength feels very natural and is very drinkable. What I like most about this is the dirty edge. No sir, this is no clean whisky. Muddy, slightly burned, with all kinds of very pleasant off-notes. Develops into more overripe sweet apples, grapes, a bowl of heated pieces of pear, a drop of grapefruit juice, biological honey and rosemary. More of the above in the aftertaste, which is long, and adds dried cranberries to the already very pleasant experience.

Overall

This is just great! If you like your dram not to be too clean and chiseled, this has got to be one of the must tries. Perfectly balanced except for some ridges and smudges that keeps the drinking so enjoyable. So this was also part of the blind tasting competition, and guess what? I guessed it right, this had to be Ledaig, and it was. Hooray!

What others thought

Competition day #11

Ledaig 2004 GM

Whiskybase: 87.18 (40 votes) Contestants: 8.0/10

This sample was part of the

Scores

these are my personal views, so do not take them too seriously… nothing beats tasting these for yourself •

Cask influence
25%
Peat/smoke
70%
Nose 90%
Taste 89%
Balance 88%
Depth 88%
Finish 89%
Score