If it were a choice I would go for a coastal type of peated whisky such as the Glen Scotia 15 rather than a medicinal type of peated whisky such as Laphroaig 10, although it is not always that clear cut. In my mind there are some peated malts that sit in between and provide that fine balance between light citrus fruitiness, medicinal notes, coastal notes and smoke. Ardbeg 10 and Hakushu 12 come to mind – both of which would be one of my go to peated malts…well maybe not the Hakushu 12 anymore given the lack of availability and price. But that is fine because I discovered the Ledaig 10 which has become my favourite peated whisky. It has taken me a while to get around to trying the 18 year old. My initial intention was to buy a bottle of the 18 year old because I loved the 10 year old so much but then sense and experience kicked in and reminded me that just because I like a younger or entry level malt doesn’t mean I am guaranteed to enjoy older and more expensive versions. So I purchased a sample. I think the difference between the 18 and 10 apart from the extra 8 years of maturation is that the 18 has much more sherry cask influence. I may be wrong but I think the 10 year old has been matured only in ex-bourbon casks.
Whisky: Ledaig 18 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky, 46.3%
Nose: Oranges, sea salt, rubber, leather, diesel, lavendar, damp cardboard
Taste: Ginger, orange, vanilla, cinnamon, burnt rubber, salt, tannins, aniseed
Finish: Dry, tannins, roasted nuts, burnt rubber
Summary: This is a solid sherry cask influenced peat malt. Much more palatable for me than the Bowmore range. There are glimpses of what I liked about the 10 year old such as the lavendar and sea salt but on the taste there is an addition of ginger spice, oranges and burnt rubber – which in this case I quite liked. I would also go far as saying I prefer this more than the Talisker 18 year old. There is a lot going on and I liked the spiced ginger and orange element to this the most. The sherry doesn’t take over but I did get a slight tannic note towards the end. I wouldn’t go far as saying I prefer it more than the 10 year old, they are both very good and different peated malts in my opinion.
Scoring scale: My scores reflect a balance of the overall experience, availability and cost for a whisky,
1 – not to my preference
2 – tastes fine but does not excite me
3 – more to my liking and would revisit occasionally
4 – very much to my liking and would consider as a regular feature on my whisky shelf
5 – permanent feature on my whisky shelf
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