This is a bottling from the Scotch Malt Whisky Society, a very large whisky club which buys casks and bottles them independently. The bottlings don’t usually reveal the name of the distillery and each bottling is instead given its own unique name. However each bottle does display a code made up of the cask number and distillery (42 is Tobermory/Ledaig), so with a little internetting one can figure it out.
This little beauty is from Ledaig, a favourite of mine. And it’s name is Purple Relaxation. Each bottling comes with a little blurb and this one’s is:
“Delicate perfumed lavender smoke made us feel calm, relaxed and all the tension fell away as we imagined wandering through a field of purple flowers on our way home where a freshly brewed cup of Lapsang souchong tea was waiting for us. The taste was almost identical to the nose; peaceful, sweet, slightly herbal, lavender smoke. Diluted even more delicate, if that is possible, sweet smoked iced gems and a blueberry lavender fizz cocktail with a slice of lime. On the palate, delicious, subtle flavours and the texture was that of lavender honeycomb apricot ice cream with a suggestion of purple smoke.”
Gentle and delicate are not usually words I’d use to describe a young Ledaig, especially at close to 60% ABV, but the guys at SMWS usually know what they’re talking about so let’s have a taste.
Aged 9 years. 59.3%ABV. Matured in a refill bourbon cask. No colourant added, non-chill filtered and bottled at cask strength from a single cask.
Nose: Might be the name playing tricks on me, but I’m smelling purple flowers, lilacs, lavender and violets. The peat then bubbles up, very mineral in character. There’s a distinct malty, porridge note behind the peat, even some new makey notes. Fresh linen stored with mothballs. Something here reminds me of a cold English ale.
Palate: Quite gentle for what it is. More fresh linen and soft floral notes. Then the salt and peat shows up, the peat being somewhat sweet now, porridge and soft, juicy fruit.
Finish: Long. Dry wood. Yellow cherries. Sweet but salty peat. Bit of gentle woodspice in the throat.
Would I buy this: Yes (if I were an SMWS member).
Would I order this in a bar: Yes.
Would I drink this if someone gave me a glass: Yes.
As usual, this SMWS bottling didn’t disappoint. This Ledaig was bold and flavourful, yet somehow still quite gentle and the young malt notes were well balanced out here. A really great example of how good a young whisky can be, absolutely fantastic.