Ledaig 19 Marsala Cask Finish

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I’m always happy to try whatever comes out of Tobermory distillery, particularly if it’s a Ledaig. They have this weird edgy funk to them that just makes them really unique and they go well with just about everything. The distillery is also going to stop producing whisky for about 2 years due to renovations, and while they have announced that they have plenty of stock to put out during that time period, I’m a little worried that it’ll somehow give the collectory types reason to horde and drive up prices. So best to enjoy as much as I can now.

This is a limited release that has undergone a finish in Marsala wine casks, although for how long is not stated. Marsala is a sweet wine which tends to impart not only sweet notes but also a good spiciness to whisky.

Aged 19 years. 51% ABV. Finished in Marsala wine casks. No colourant added, non-chill filtered and bottled at batch strength.

Nose: Salty, spicy, smoky toffee. Herbal peat with that typical dry Ledaig funk, but turned up a notch, maybe not as balanced by the aggressive chemical smoke in younger Ledaigs. Some dry red fruits hidden behind a wall of very acrid, earthy notes. Orange peel. Cardboard. Wine cake.

Palate: Quite spicy at first, nutmeg, cinnamon and pepper. This gives way to some dry fruit tannins and red fruits with a little hint of radish and green herbs. After that there’s a hit of salty toffee which becomes sweet toffee with sweet fruits.

Finish: Long. A pretty weird mix of dry and sweet notes. There’s a very present note of dry fruits and waxy citrus peel, but along side it are sweet sugar plums and sticky wood notes with a long blast of menthol right at the end.

Would I buy this: No

Would I order this in a bar: Yes

Would I drink this if someone gave me a glass: Yes

VFM: 2/5

I found the nose on this to be a little all over the place and somewhat unbalanced, even after letting it rest in the glass for a good deal of time. There was this unbalanced funk with everything around it just hopping way to much between sweet and dry.

The palate and finish on the other hand were quite different. There was still this weird interaction between dry, sweet and salty, but now it was much more coordinated and refined, making this a really interesting dram to drink.

I still think that the standard 18yo is a little more refined and elegant than this and at a lower price point I’d probably pick that one every time given the choice between the two.

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