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Ledaig 18 Year Old Single Malt

Review: Ledaig 18 Year Old Single Malt Whisky    (91/100)
a Review By Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted on March 12, 2017

The Tobermory Distillery was established in 1798 (by the British Fisheries Society) making it one of the oldest commercial distilleries in Scotland. The facility is located on the Isle of Mull, in the area of Ledaig which means ‘safe haven’ in Gaelic. The distillery is unusual in that it produces both peated and unpeated whisky varieties. The Legaig 18 Year Old is a Single Malt (from the Tobermorey Distillery) which I tasted at an event hosted by Ryan Engen who is the Director of Spirits, for Liquor Stores N.A. Inc. at the Edmonton Wine and Beyond McTagggert Ridge location.

At the tasting I enjoyed 7 different Single Malts in what was termed the Beyond Islay Single Malt Whisky Tasting. The Whiskies at the tasting were selected to represent the diversity of Scotland’s Island Whiskies reaching beyond the popular Islay Whiskies to the malts produced on the lesser known Islands. As indicated, Ledaig is produced at the Tobermory Distillery upon the Isle of Mull.

The peated spirit was matured for 18 years in oak casks and then finished in ex-Sherry casks. The whisky is bottled at 46.3 % alcohol by volume.

ledaig-18yoIn the Bottle 5/5

The Whisky is presented in the medium tall bottle shown to the left. The year the distillery was established is embossed in large font on the front of the bottle. The bottle is cork sealed and arrives in the classy oak box which features an illustration of the distillery printed upon the box front. I love these wooden boxes which always seem to elevate a whisky presentation well above the norm.

In the Glass 9.5/10

The whisky shows a nice copper tone in the glass and when I tilted my glencairn and gave it a twirl, I saw tha the spirit developed a well-defined crest at the top of the film that developed big fat leglets which seemed intent on staying where they were.

The breezes above the glass carried a complex aroma with peat smoke entwined with sherry-like scents of cherry licorice and raisins. Baking spices came forward with rum-like dark brown sugar mixed with vanilla and bits of cinnamon and clove. The peaty scents were somewhat pungent as organic boggy smells mixed with oily phenols, licorice root and menthol. The oak spice rode along with the peat and the sherry building over time giving my olfactory senses quite a treat even well after the glass was empty.

In the Glass 54/60

The delivery brings a pop of pungent oily peat alongside flavours of oak spice, marmalade and  dry fruit (raisins, prunes, and dates). A malty sweetness comes though which combines with the oak and baking spices bringing a rum-like presence to the whisky. Licorice root and menthol keep the heat (from the alcohol and spice) from building too much; and with each sip the punchy peat and the oak seem to gain momentum. I found a drop or two of water opened the whisky bringing about a more intense flavour experience, I suspect however, that ice would be a detriment to the whisky.

In the Throat 13.5/15

The finish is nice and long with oily phenols and ashy peat slowly giving way to butterscotch and fruit (peaches, plums and cherries). The palate is left glowing with lingering bits of baking spice (cinnamon, vanilla and cloves) glowing on the tongue.

The Afterburn 9/10

The Ledaig 18 Year Old Single Malt is a wonderful whisky. The 18 years of aging have given the whisky enough structure and flavour to stand up to the moderate peatiness and punch back. The result is a well-rounded, balanced whisky which tastes absolutely great, especially during our cold Canadian winter.

You may read some of my other Whisky Reviews (click the link) if you wish to have some comparative reviews.


Suggested Cocktail:

what-rough-beastWhat Rough Beast

1 1/2 oz  Legaig 18 Year Old
3/4 oz  Beefeater London Dry Gin
1/2  oz  Orange Curacao
1/4 oz  Vermouth
dash Angostura Orange Bitters
Orange Slice (0ptional)

Place an orange slice in the bottom of a old-fashioned glass
Add some ice-cubes
Pour the first four ingredients over the ice
Add a dash of bitters
Garnish with a slice of Orange if desired


Note: If  you are interested in more of my original cocktail recipes, please click this link (Cocktails and Recipes) for more of my mixed drink recipes!


As always you may interpret the scores I provide as follows.

0-25     A spirit with a rating this low would actually kill you.
26-49   Depending upon your fortitude you might actually survive this.
50 -59  You are safe to drink this…but you shouldn’t.
60-69   Substandard swill which you may offer to people you do not want to see again.
70-74   Now we have a fair mixing rum or whisky.  Accept this but make sure it is mixed into a cocktail.
75-79   You may begin to serve this to friends, again probably still cocktail territory.
80-84   We begin to enjoy this spirit neat or on the rocks. (I will still primarily mix cocktails)
85-89   Excellent for sipping or for mixing!
90-94   Definitely a primary sipping spirit, in fact you may want to hoard this for yourself.
95-97.5 The Cream of the Crop
98+        I haven’t met this bottle yet…but I want to.

Very loosely we may put my scores into terms that you may be more familiar with on a Gold, Silver, and  Bronze medal  scale as follows:

70 – 79.5    Bronze Medal (Recommended only as a mixer)
80 – 89.5     Silver Medal (Recommended for sipping and or a high quality mixer)
90 – 95         Gold Medal (Highly recommended for sipping and for sublime cocktails.)
95.5+            Platinum Award (Highest Recommendation)

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