Glenmorangie Signet Review


“Sweet Like Chocolate”

Whisky Review # 731

Country: Scotland
Region: Northern Highlands 
Brand: Glenmorangie Signet 
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Age: NAS 
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 46%
Maturation: Refill Bourbon, Virgin Oak, Oloroso Wood and Red Wine Barrels   
Chill Filtration: No     
Price Range: US$ 150-170 (May 2018).
Buying Advice: 😐 Very Nice Malt if you like the specific Aroma/Flavour profile. A bit too one-sided for my personal taste.

Colour

Mahogany (Artificially Coloured)

Nose:

The Signet is a NAS Whisky but on the Nose you immediately get the feeling that some mature Spirit and good casks were used. It's quite Sweet and Fruity and the influence of Virgin casks, Sherry Wood and Red Wine is noticeable. 

Main Aromas:

Toasted Malt, Butter Kekse (German Butter Biscuits), Vanilla, Demerara Sugar, Dried Fruit like Raisins, Sultanas, Figs, Blackcurrants and Plums, Red Grapes, Orange Peel, Banana, Toasted Nuts, Milk Chocolate, Roasted Coffee Beans and Cinnamon.        

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Caramel, Golden Syrup, Tinned Pineapple, Bourbon, Tobacco, Floral Perfume, Ginger, Fresh Mint and Oak.       


Palate:

Quite Sweet but with a few Bitter and Sour notes as well. The Oak is noticeable by now. Quite Dry, Nutty and Tannic.

Main Flavours:

Toasted Malt, Vanilla, Caramel, Demerara Sugar, Dried Fruit like Blackcurrants, Rum Soaked Raisins & Sultanas, Blackcurrant Preserve, Citrus Peel, Grapefruit, Roasted Nuts, Roasted Coffee Beans, Dark Chocolate and Cinnamon.             

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Golden Syrup, Toffee, Pepper, Nutmeg, Ginger, Menthol/Aniseed, Charred Oak, Tobacco and Licorice.   



Finish:

Middle-Long and mainly Bitter Sweet. A few Sour notes as well. Quite Dry and Tannic in the final stages. The Wood is more present as well. I find Malt, Dried Fruit like Plums, Sultanas and Blackcurrants, Toffee, Vanilla, Hazelnuts, Dark Chocolate, Citrus Peel, Grapefruit, Herbs, Menthol, Pepper, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Ginger, Aniseed, Licorice, Strong Espresso, Ripe Banana, Red Wine and Tobacco.

Drinking Advice:

I added a little Water and Milk Chocolate, Caffe Latte and Peach Jam develop. A hint of Bounty Candy Bars as well. On the Palate and in the Finish Wood and Wood Spice start to dominate. A little Rubber and/or PVC Pipes as well. I think the Nose improves with a little Water but the same does not apply for Palate and Finish. Still, you can certainly experiment with a few drops here and there. 

Rating: 86 

Nose: 22 - Taste: 21.5 - Finish: 21 - Overall: 21.5


Drinking Experience:

Good.

Conclusion:

The Signet was launched in 2008. It is made with two different types of Barley i.e. around 20% of Malted "Chocolate" Barley that is normally used for Stout Beer production and 80% of Roasted Single Estate Cadboll Barley that has been dried at a higher temperature and deeply roasted. A mixture of Refill Bourbon casks, Virgin Oak, Sherry casks and Red Wine Barrels are used to mature the Signet. And although it's a NAS Whisky it is said to contain some 35-40 Years old Glenmorangie Spirit as well. The name Signet originates from the Hilton of Cadboll Stone, a work of Art dating back to around 800 AD that can be found around 15 km southeast of Tain, close to the Glenmorangie distillery.

The Signet is a designed Whisky made by Bill Lumsden, Glenmorangie's Master of Whisky Creation. The roasted Barley, the special casks and the use of some very old Glenmorangie Spirit give the Signet a very specific Aroma and Flavour profile, dominated by Dried Fruits, Nuts, Chocolate, Wood and Wood Spices. As such it will surely be appreciated by Sherry, Port And other Fortified Wine fans. A great Christmas after dinner Whisky to be enjoyed with good Dark Chocolate, Coffee and perhaps a cigar. Would I buy a full bottle? No. I think it's a very nice and well-made Single Malt but it's a bit of a one trick pony without too much complexity, depth and balance.   


The Pictures were taken during our visit to Glenmorangie in May 2017

Miyagikyo 10 Years Review - Fujikai 10 Years Review


“Malts of the Rising Sun”

Whisky Review # 729

Country: Japan
Region: Sendai - Northern Japan
Brand: Miyagikyo
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Age: 10 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 45%
Maturation: Not Available. I would think a mix of Bourbon and Sherry casks.
Chill Filtration: Information Not Available. Probably: Yes
Price Range: US$ 150-200 (May 2018) - Discontinued in 2015
Buying Advice: 😃 Very nice Single Malt. 😡 Negative P/Q ratio.

Colour

Golden Amber (Artificially Coloured)

Nose:

Based on the Nose, I suspect some Mizunara casks were used as well. They provide this extra element you only find in Japanese Whiskies. The Sherry Wood is noticeable as well. I find most Japanese Single Malts quite pleasant on the Nose and this Miyagikyo is no exception although it does show its relative youth. The Nose is Light, Sweet, Fruity and Floral. It's kinda like a Bourbon matured in Sherry casks. The Alcohol is nicely integrated.

Main Aromas:

Sweet Barley, Butterkekse (German Butter Biscuits), Vanilla, Salted Caramel, Yeast, Dried Fruit like Raisins and Dates, Plum Jam, Apple, Banana, Pineapple, Peach, Blueberry Muffins, Orange and Lemon Peel, Nuts (Hazelnut, Cashew), Oak Char, Floral Soap and Cinnamon.      
      
Supportive Aroma Accents:

Honey, Grass, Hay, Caffe Latte, Milk Chocolate, Polished Leather, Dusty Road, Aniseed, Pepper, Wood Glue and Mint. 

Palate:

Bitter Sweet, a bit Sour, Herbal and Dry. A combination of Fruity, Floral, Herbal and Spicy Flavours.

Main Flavours:

Sweet Barley, Salted Caramel, Vanilla, Dried Fruit (Raisins and Prunes), Banana, Pear, Apple, Yeast, Sherry, Orange and Lemon Peel, Charred Oak, Grapes (Wine) Herbal Tea, Cinnamon, Pepper, Licorice and Mint.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Almonds, Honey, Milk Chocolate, Caffe Latte, Floral Soap, Dusty Road, Tobacco, Leather, Ginger, Blackberry Muffins and Coconut Milk.

Finish:

Middle-Long. Sweet and Sour. A certain Bitterness arrives towards the dry end. I find Sweet Barley, Vanilla, Salted Caramel, Grass, Pineapple, Orange, Mandarin, Lemon, Apple, Pear, Grapes (Wine), Sherry, Herbal Tea, Tobacco, Charred Oak, Honey, Dusty Road, Caffe Latte, Pepper, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Ginger, Aniseed, Licorice and Mint. A very faint hint of Smoke and a light Metallic note pop up after a few minutes.

Drinking Advice:

Due to the small size of the sample I only tasted this Miyagikyo neat. 

Rating: 85.5 

Nose: 22 - Taste: 21.5 - Finish: 20.5 - Overall: 21.5    

Drinking Experience:

Good.

Conclusion:

The Miyagikyo distillery (Nikka Group) was founded in 1969. In 2015 Nikka discontinued the entire Miyagikyo range (including the 10 Y). It was replaced by one new NAS Expression only.

It's a shame that a lot of Japanese whiskies have become a caricature of their former selves of late due to the high demand. The result: A tsunami of NAS Malts at an absurd price level. Because the Miyagikyo 10 Years shows that Japan can produce very nice Vintage Malts at reasonable prices. This specific Single Malt combines some Bourbon and Speyside elements and although the Malt could have done with a few extra years in the cask, the end result is quite pleasant, especially on the Nose. If this type of Japanese Single Malt would be priced at say 70 US Dollars, it would be a regular in my cabinet. As it stands I fear we have to wait until the hype is over and reason returns to the Malts of the Rising Sun.



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Whisky Review # 730

Country: Japan
Brand: Fujikai
Type: Single Malt Whisky 
Age: 10 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 43%
Maturation: Bourbon casks
Chill Filtration: Information not available. Probably Yes.  
Price Range: US$ 60-80 (May 2018)
Buying Advice: 😱😷😡 I'm not sure it's good enough to clean your toilet! 

Colour

Dark Gold/Copper (Probably Artificially Coloured).  

Nose:

Very different to say the least. My first, I admit strange, impression was walking into a bicycle repair shop. Sweaty Feet in new running shoes. Not your regular Single Malt Aromas! Quite Sweet and Dusty! This has little to do with Whisky I'm afraid.

Main Aromas:

Adhesive for Bicycle Tires, Glue, Plastic, Acetone, Sweat, Wet Paper, Buttered Toast, Yeast, Toasted Cereals, Plum Obstler (German Fruit Liqueur), Begonias or other House Plants, Dusty Straw and Mint.      

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Pine Needles, Gasoline/Diesel, Salted Caramel, Rotting Vegetables, Vanilla, Worn Leather, Dusty Cellar, Saw Dust, Sour/Rotten Apple, Lemon, Cheap Grappa, Coal Char and Iron.  

Palate:

The Nose was strange but the Palate is rather Nasty. Bitter-Sweet, Sour, Dusty, Musty, Harsh and Dry. 

Main Flavours:

Dirty Factory Smoke, Dirty Earth, Ashed, Rubber, Plastic, Gasoline/Diesel, Tar, Acetone, Cheap Grappa, Rusty Metal, Decomposing Plants/Vegetables, Salted Caramel, Burnt Herbs, Oak Char and Pepper.  

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Sour Apple, Walnuts, Nutshells, Vanilla, Lemon, Sugared Tea and perhaps a hint of Nutmeg.

Finish:

Nasty, Middle-Long, Sharp, Bitter-Sweet, Metallic and Dry. I find Dirty Factory Smoke, Diesel, Plastic, Rubber, Dirty Earth, Cheap Grappa, Pepper, Nutshells, Rotting Wood, Burnt Cereals, Licorice, Aniseed, Walnuts and a hint of Vanilla and Sour Apple.  

Drinking Advice:

I added a few drops of Water and that is a slight improvement. Still I'm glad the Tasting Session is concluded. The remaining half of the sample will go to the kitchen sink I'm afraid. 

Rating: 56    

Nose: 15 - Taste: 14  - Finish: 13 - Overall: 14     

Drinking Experience:

Horrible! 

Conclusion:

The Monde Shuzo distillery was founded in 1952 in Fuefuki, close to Mount Fuji. It produces mostly wine but recently got into a bit of Whisky (Isawa) as well. Riding on the Wave without any doubt. The Fujikai 10 Years is a limited edition of around 8.800 bottles and is distributed by Whiskies du Monde from France. It is not known when this whisky has been distilled.

The bottle is nice. It doesn't look like a Whisky bottle though and that is telling! I must indeed conclude that this has nothing to do with Whisky. At best you could compare it with a very cheap Grappa or Plum Liqueur. Although the latter two might feel abused when I make the comparison. The Fujikai 10 Years is just a horrible excuse for a Whisky. The Nose was very different and in a strange way even remotely interesting. But Palate and Finish are a disaster. This is one of the 4 worst Whiskies I have ever tasted. It's also only the second time that I threw half of the sample in the sink. We can only hope and pray that excesses like this will in the end contribute to a better balance of supply and demand in the Japanese Whisky industry. Kanpai!

Jan van den Ende                                                                     May 14, 2018

Jura Elixir 12 Years Review - Kilchoman 100% Islay 2nd Edition Review - Port Askaig 100 Proof Review


Introduction:

Most of you know that I mainly use samples and miniatures when preparing my Reviews. I usually buy these in Holland and sometimes in Germany or the UK. Sometimes I receive samples from friends or readers or independent bottlers. In only two cases I received a few samples directly from distilleries. When planning my reviews I always try to give attention to all Scottish Whisky regions as well as most of the other Whisky/Whiskey/Bourbon producing regions all over the world with special attention to the USA, Ireland and Japan. And last but not least the blends. At the request of many readers I give preference to more recent expressions. As a result my backlog of older samples has increased quite a bit. To do justice to those samples I will review them in the format of Specials. These specials will review specific distilleries or take a look at specific bottlers, countries, regions or Blends. The reviews in these Specials will concentrate more on the Whisky and won't go into details about distilleries, maturation etc. I do hope you will like these Specials just as much as my regular reviews and I look forward to your reactions and suggestions. In today's Distillery-Special I will review a mixed bag of three Islay/Jura Single Malts.

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Whisky Review # 726

Country: Scotland
Region: Highlands - Islands - Jura
Brand: Jura Elixir
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Age: 12 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 40%
Maturation: White Oak Bourbon Casks (10 Years) and Oloroso Casks (2 Years)
Chill Filtration: Yes           
Price Range: US$ 50-60 (May 2018).
Buying Advice: 😐 Price/Quality Ratio is okay. Jura fans should try it out!

Colour

Copper with shades of Orange (Artificially Coloured)

Nose:

Sweet and Fruity with a few Bitter and Sour notes for balance. The Sherry Cask is clearly noticeable. I don't find the Cooked Vegetables note that I encounter so often in NAS Jura Malts. I'm not the biggest fan of Jura Noses but this is not too bad.

Main Aromas:

Buttered Toast, Salted Caramel, Toffee, Butterscotch, Dairy/Caffe Latte, Dried Fruit like Raisins, Bananas and Dates, Plum Liqueur, Toasted Almonds, Seville Oranges, Slightly Sour Grapes, Nuts, Cloves and Dark Chocolate.  
      
Supportive Aroma Accents:

Marzipan, Nougat, Apple, Pineapple, Sherry, Fresh Herbs, Musty Oak, Cinnamon, Ginger, Dough, Straw, Earth and Tobacco. A very distant Peat fire.


Palate:

The Delivery is a bit on the Thin side. There is also a 46% expression on the market so by all means look for that one if you like the general Aroma/Flavour profile of this Elixir. The Sherry cask is even more noticeable by now. The Elixir is basically Sweet on the Palate but I do find a few Bitter and Sour notes as well.

Main Flavours:

Toasted Cereals, Dried Fruit, Nuts, Apple, Plum Jam, Salted Caramel, Toffee, Caffe Latte, Seville Orange, Cinnamon, Pepper, Ginger, Nutmeg and Cloves.       

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Sherry, Musty Oak, Grapefruit, Lemon, Pineapple, Honey, Tobacco, Licorice, Aniseed, Mint, Earth, Rubber/Plastic, Honey and Peat/Smoke.     

Finish:

Middle-Long and mostly Sweet. A light Bitterness and also a slight Metallic off-note towards the Medium-Dry end. I find Toasted Barley, Caramel, Toffee, Dried Fruit and Nuts, Plum Jam, Yeast, Dried and Fresh Herbs (Mint), Cocoa Powder, Honey, Caffe Latte, Pepper, Nutmeg, Salt, Sherry, Grapefruit, Seville Orange and hints of Peat/Smoke and Aniseed.


Drinking Advice:

Added Water makes the Elixir too Thin in my opinion. Smoke/Peat and Orange develop. Better sip it neat.

Rating: 82.5 

Nose: 21 - Taste: 20.5  - Finish: 20.5  - Overall: 20.5   

Drinking Experience:

Good.

Conclusion:

The Elixir 12 Years was released in 2012. An Elixir is a magical/medicinal potion that gives life to those who need it. Well that's a great description for Whisky I would say. It was released in 2012.

You don't have to wake me up for a dram of Jura in the middle of the night but I will say that the Elixir is one of the more agreeable Single Malts of this island distillery that I have tasted so far. No Cooked Rotten Vegetables or Baby Vomit this time around. The 2 Year Sherry Cask Finish is clearly noticeable and Dried Fruits and Nuts are all over the place. There's hardly any Peat or Smoke around so Peat lovers should look elsewhere. But if you are a Jura fan, you should give the Elixir a chance, also considering that the P/Q ratio is quite reasonable. Let's drive to the ferry now and go to Islay!



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Whisky Review # 727

Country: Scotland
Region: Islay
Brand: Kilchoman 100% Islay - 2nd Edition - Bottled 2012
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Age: NAS (3-4 Years)
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 50%
Maturation: Ex-Bourbon Casks (Mix of First-Fill and Second-Fill)
Chill Filtration: No 
Price Range: Around US$ 75-120 (May 2018). Large price differences!
Buying Advice: 😒 It's not bad but way too expensive for such a Young Malt. 

Colour

Pale Straw/White Wine (Natural Colour)

Nose:

Light, Young, Fruity and Mostly Sweet. A few Sour notes as well. The Peat and Smoke are quite subdued, certainly when compared to other young Islay Malts. The Alcohol is noticeable of course. It's not unpleasant but you need to be into very Young Single Malt to appreciate it. 

Main Aromas:

Slightly Burnt Toast, Toasted Barley, Soft Sweet Peat, Straw mixed with Horse Manure, Salted Peanuts, Gooseberries, Lemon, Pepper and Cinnamon.     

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Varnish, Iodine, Ashes, Wet Grass, Salted Fish, Vanilla, Dairy, Pear Drops, Green Apples, Coconut Milk and Mint.


Palate:

Very Young and Nervous. The Peat is more noticeable by now. On the Palate the 100% Islay is mostly Bitter-Sweet. I find a few Sour, Acidic and Salty notes as well.

Main Flavours:

Toasted Cereals, Sweet Peat, light Smoke, Ashes, Soot, Salted Peanuts, Green Banana, Lemon, Bitter Grapefruit Juice, Pineapple, Green Apple, Alcohol, Grass, Pepper, Cinnamon and Nutmeg.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Vanilla, Gasoline, Licorice, Aniseed, Caffe Latte, Dried Herbs, Tobacco, Coconut Milk, Green Apples and Oak Char.       

Finish:

Middle-Long and mostly Bitter-Sweet. A few Sour notes as well towards the Dry end. I pick up a few Metallic off-notes here. I also find Toasted Barley, Soft Peat, Wet Rock, Iodine, light Smoke, Ashes, Soot, Farmyard, Vanilla, Lemon, Green Banana, Pepper, Salt, Dried Herbs, Cinnamon, Aniseed, Bitter Grapefruit Juice, Milk, Alcohol, Gasoline and Grass.


Drinking Advice:

I added a few drops of Water and Cereals, Straw and Peat develop on the Nose. More Peat and Smoke on the Palate and in the Finish as well. Visions of Bitter Lemon (the Softdrink) as well. I suggest to experiment with a few drops at a time.

Rating: 81.5   

Nose: 21 - Taste: 20 - Finish: 20 - Overall: 20.5    

Drinking Experience:

Okay. Much too Young for my taste. 

Conclusion:

Kilchoman opened in 2005 so it's understandable that they have released scores of Young Whisky so far. This farm distillery is very committed to do as much as possible of their production process on Islay. That's exactly the idea behind the 100% Islay series that was launched for the first time in 2011. Everything was done on Islay from growing barley, malting, distilling, maturation to bottling. A very nice initiative indeed!

There's nothing really wrong with this Kilchoman except for the fact that it's way too Young and Edgy. I did prefer the 6th Edition that I reviewed earlier but in general they have the same common problems. They are too Young and way too expensive for their age, 100% Islay or not. So if you like young Kilchoman I advise you to go for the Machir Bay instead. It might not be 100% Islay but it's a solid Young Kilchoman at a more agreeable price level.



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Whisky Review # 728

Country: Scotland
Region: Islay
Brand: Port Askaig 100 Proof
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Age: NAS
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 57.1% (Around Cask Strength)
Maturation: Refill Ex-Bourbon Casks 
Chill Filtration: No          
Price Range: US$ 50-65 (May 2018).
Buying Advice: 😃 Good P/Q ratio. Nice Day-to-Day Young Islay Malt.

Colour

Pale Straw/White Wine (Natural Colour)

Nose:

Light, Young and a little Edgy. The Oak influence is hardly noticeable. This Malt could be anywhere between 5 and 10 Years in my opinion. The Alcohol is there of course but not in an all too aggressive way. Most of the Aromas mentioned below are mere hints and suggestions. Barley, Peat, Apple and some Mineral and Coastal notes are the main drivers. The Nose is the weakest part of this Malt.

Main Aromas:

Sweet Barley, Slightly Burnt Toast, Earthy Peat, Straw, Grass, Cold Smoke, Wet Rocks and Sand, Lemon, Green Apple, Cinnamon and Herbs.

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Iodine, Soot, Salted Nuts, Tobacco, Rubber, Raw Meat, Cheese, Fish/Shellfish on the BBQ, Floral Soap and Milk Chocolate.


Palate:

Good Delivery. The Alcohol is strong of course but it doesn't really bother me. The Creamy Palate is much more expressive than the Nose. Much Sweeter as well. It still feels relatively Young though.

Main Flavours:

Toasted Cereals, Sweet Earthy Peat, Cold Smoke, Soot, Ashes, Rubber, Charred Oak, Salted Caramel, Wet Rocks, Green Apple, Lemon, Salted Fish/Shellfish on the BBQ, Raw Meat/Ham, Cinnamon, Pepper and Nutmeg.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Straw, Grass, Floral Soap, Tobacco, Licorice, Caffe Latte, Hazelnut-Chocolate, Cloves and Mustard.

Finish:

Medium-Long, Young, Bitter-Sweet, Meaty, Creamy and Dry towards the end. I find Toasted Cereals, Sweet Peat, Cold Smoke, Ashes, Soot, Brine, Iodine, Band-Aid, Rubber, Charred Oak, Salted Fish/Shellfish on the BBQ, Raw Beef, Salted Caramel, Green Apple, Lemon, Grapefruit, Pepper, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Honey, Tobacco, Licorice and Milk-Hazelnut Chocolate.


Drinking Advice:

I added a little Water and Peat, Soot and Lemon develop on the Nose. Palate and Finish get very Spicy with developing Chili Pepper, Menthol and Aniseed. I prefer to sip it neat but it's certainly interesting to add a few drops!   

Rating: 84.5    

Nose: 20.5- Taste: 21.5 - Finish: 21.5 - Overall: 21 

Drinking Experience:

Good

Conclusion:

Caol Ila is the distillery closest to Port Askaig so it's more than reasonable to suggest that the Port Askaig 100 Proof was distilled there. The US readers might wonder why 100 Proof does not translate to an ABV of 50% but that's because Port Askaig used the old English Proof calculation for Whisky. They did that as to show that this Single Malt resembles old-school Islay Whisky.

This Port Askaig has two faces really. The Nose is very introvert and doesn't show its hand. It's only on the Palate and in the Finish that this Port Askaig starts to shine. If you like Young but not too Young Islay Whisky you can go for this Port Askaig, even more so when you consider the very reasonable P/Q ratio. When Young Islay is concerned I usually prefer the Vintage Distillery Bottlings. But I must admit I was pleasantly surprised by this Port Askaig. A pity that the Nose is not very expressive. But otherwise it's a nice alternative if you're looking for a reasonably priced peated daily dram!

Jan van den Ende                                                                     May 10, 2018



The pictures were taken during our visits to these distilleries in May 2014 and May 2017.

Ledaig 10 Years Review - Ledaig 18 Years Review


“Ledaig Special”

The Tobermory Distillery was founded in 1798 by John Sinclair on the beautiful island of Mull. It was called Tobermory until it closed in 1930. When it opened again in 1972, the name was changed to Ledaig. In the year 1993 the distillery was bought by Burn Stewart and in 2002 the company decided to use the name Tobermory both for the distillery and for the unpeated Malt and Ledaig for the peated Malt. In 2017 the distillery closed for refurbishing. It is expected that things will be ready by the end of this year or the beginning of 2019. About half of the yearly production is Tobermory and half is Ledaig. We visited the distillery in May 2017, right after it closed. We were the only visitors at the time but nevertheless the guide gave us one of the best distillery tours! Appreciated!

At the moment, the distillery possesses two pairs of stills that produce around 750.000 litres per year. The core range is very small and consists of the 10 and 18 Year old Ledaig and the 10 year Tobermory although the latter can only be bought at the distillery at the moment. Some of the distillery output is used in the Scottish Leader Blend. Since 2013, Tobermory is owned by the South African Distell Group Ltd that also controls Bunnahabhain and Deanston.

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Whisky Review # 724

Country: Scotland
Region: Highlands - Islands - Mull
Brand: Ledaig (Gaelic for Safe Haven)
Distillery: Tobermory 
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Age: 10 Years 
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 46.3%
Maturation: Bourbon casks  
Chill Filtration: No        
Price Range: US$ 45-55 (May 2018).
Buying Advice: 😉 I like it but it may not be for everybody. Read the notes!

Image result for ledaig 10 years

Colour

Light Golden (Possibly Artificially Coloured)

Nose:

Sweet Peat is the first impression. Different Peat as in Islay Malts. It's somewhat dirty, more like Springbank or Jura. The Nose is rather Light, a little Musty and it's not all Sweet. I pick up a few Sour aromas as well as a bit of Sulphur. Are there a few Sherry casks in the mix? Despite the variety of Aromas, it somehow works out in a reasonably balanced way.

Main Aromas:

Toasted Cereals, Burnt Buttered Toast, Straw mixed with Cow Manure, Hospital, Dirty Earth, Grass, Salted Smoked Kipper, Bacon, Lemon, Salted Peanuts, Green Apple, Slightly Sour Grapes and Cocoa Powder.    

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Factory Smoke, Diesel, Iodine, Wet Stone, Rubber, Floral Perfume, Dried Fruit, Herbal Tea, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Ginger, Cheese Spread and Leather.   


Palate:

The delivery is less strong than I expected given the adequate ABV. On the Palate, the Ledaig 10 Years is mainly Bitter-Sweet although there are a few Sour notes as well. It's a little Dirty, Meaty and Edgy but I am comfortable with that.

Main Flavours:

Toasted Cereals, Salted Caramel, Burnt Toast, Dirty Earth, Ashes, Tar, Smoked Fish/Shellfish, Iodine, Brine, Lemon, PVC Pipes, Pepper, Ginger, Herbal Tea, Wet Rocks, Green Apple and slightly Sour Grapes.           

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Heather-Honey, Grass, Straw, Bacon, Charred Oak, Aniseed, Sulphur, Leather, Cocoa Powder and Seville Oranges.  



Finish:

Middle-Long, Bitter-Sweet and slightly Sour towards the Dry end. Dirty Earth, Salted Caramel, Smoked Fish, Ashes, Brine, Lemon, Grapefruit, Green Apple, Herbal Tea , Cocoa Powder, Cereals, Pepper, Nutmeg, Ginger, Cloves, PVC Pipes,  Tar, Tobacco, Licorice and Mint are the Flavours and Flavour accents that I pick up.   

Drinking Advice:

I added a little Water and that changes the Nose completely. It becomes more friendly but also rather Lemony. I get Banana Ice-Cream as well. I don't think this is the way Ledaig is supposed to smell. But that's me! On the Palate the Dirty Smoke develops together with the Spices. I prefer to sip it neat but you can certainly add a few drops to this Ledaig. 

Rating: 85

Nose: 21.5 - Taste: 21.5 - Finish: 20.5  - Overall: 21.5 

Drinking Experience:

Good. A little Dirty and Rough but I kinda like it.

Conclusion:

This Ledaig 10 might require a somewhat acquired taste. It's certainly not for everybody to be sure. It's not a mainstream Malt and it's different from your regular peated standard Islay Malts. But if you like Springbank, and I do, you can safely buy a bottle of this Ledaig 10 Years. It's a little Dirty and Edgy but it's also just what the doctor ordered after a long morning stroll on the beautiful isle of Mull. It should go very well with some Oysters or Mussels at lunch! Looking at the pictures we took during our visit to Mull last year makes me wanna go back tomorrow!


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Whisky Review # 725

Country: Scotland
Region: Highlands - Islands - Mull
Brand: Ledaig
Distillery: Tobermory 
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Age: 18 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 46.3%
Maturation: Bourbon Casks with Spanish Sherry Wood Finish   
Chill Filtration: No       
Price Range: US$ 90-120  (May 2018).
Buying Advice: 😉 Very interesting Single Malt. Give it a try!


Colour

Golden (Possibly Artificially Coloured)

Nose:

When compared to the Rebel 10 Years, the 18 Years is more of a Gentleman on the Nose. The Peat is more subdued and the Sherry Cask Finish is noticeable. Sweet, Sour and Bitter notes are reasonably well-balanced. The Alcohol is there. 

Main Aromas:

Toasted Cereals, Buttered Toast, Vanilla, Dirty Earth, Hospital, Dried Fruit like Raisins and Apricots, Orange, Apple, light Smoke, Dried Herbs, Salted Caramel, Plastic, Milk Chocolate, Smoked Meat/Fish and Pepper.       

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Farmyard, Straw, Grass, White Grapes, Salted Peanuts, Leather, Tar, Oak Char, Rubber, Ashes, Cheese and Caffe Latte.    


Palate:

Good delivery thanks to the adequate ABV. A bit more of the Ledaig "Dirt" at this moment in time. Peat and other "Islay" elements come to the forefront. An interesting combination of Sweet, Bitter, Sour and Salty notes. Quite Dry. 

Main Flavours:

Toasted Cereals, Dirty Earth, Cold Smoke, Tar, Ashes, Hospital, Brine, Dried Herbs, Salted Caramel, PVC Pipes, Dried Fruit, Orange, Grapefruit, Smoked Meat Licorice and Pepper. 

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Oak Char, Strong Espresso, Tobacco, Milk Chocolate, Nutmeg, Aniseed, Heather Honey and Wild Fruit Jam.


Finish:

Middle-Long and Bitter-Sweet. Some Sour and Salty notes towards the Dry end. Not as clean as the Nose unfortunately. I find Dirty Earth, Smoke, Cigar Ashes, Tar, Rubber, Brine, Licorice, Bitter Orange/Mandarin, Oak, Cocoa Powder, Salted Peanuts, Raspberry Jam, Toasted Cereals, Pepper and Nutmeg.

Drinking Advice:

I added a little Water and the Nose becomes even more friendly. Apple, Orange and Dried Fruits develop. The Coastal elements make themselves known as well. Palate and Finish do not change a whole lot although the Cigar Ashes seem to stay longer with you. I liked it both ways. You can certainly experiment with a few drops.

Rating: 85.5 

Nose: 22 - Taste: 21 - Finish: 21 - Overall: 21.5 

Drinking Experience:

Good. 

Conclusion:

I thoroughly enjoyed this Ledaig session. This Single Malt deserves more credit than it usually gets. I scored the pair of them in a similar way although the malts are completely different. The 10 Years is the "Dirty Rebel" and the 18 Years is the "Dirty Gentleman". The 10 Years is really Dirty and Edgy and stand its own when compared to its Islay peers. The 18 Years is more sophisticated and the Sherry Finish gives it some additional Fruit. Both Malts show character and can't be called mainstream by any standards. This might scare off some but should attract many others. This tasting session has certainly got me curious to try out some Independent Ledaig bottlings. As far as I'm concerned, Tobermory can restart its production tomorrow!

The Pictures were taken during our visit in 2017