Friday, July 31, 2015

Whisky Review: Whisky-Fässle Ledaig 8 Year 2005/2014

There have been a rash of these young, cask strength Ledaigs showing up on the market over the last handful of years. I've had rather mixed feelings, but there can be some pluses to them.

This was released by the German bottler Whisky-Fässle at 53.3% without coloring or chill filtration. The sample was purchased from the WhiskyBase Shop.

Whisky-Fässle Ledaig 8 Year 2005/2014

Nose: peat-driven, mossy, decaying vegetation and flowers, sharp oak, rather salty, low tide seashore, rotting seaweed, a touch of old coffee grounds, fresh green malt, hints of caramel. After adding a drop of water the oak comes forward, integrating with the peat, with a mellow rubbery/plastic note alongside sweet berries and a touch of ham emerging.

Taste: malt sweetness up front, sharp oak underneath, lots of mixed berries in the middle, with a big lump of mossy peat, fresh earth, and oak dumped on the back. After dilution it becomes more integrated, with the sweet malt, oak, and peat all arriving at once, mocha coming out around the middle, and the other elements making way for the berries to shine at the back.

Finish: oak tannins, bitter peat, earth, berries

I have very mixed feelings about this whisky. It is one of the few young bourbon cask Ledaigs I've tried that approached the point of being something I would want to drink again, but ultimately it is betrayed by the same flaw - it just feels underdone. Either more time to let the new make notes fade or more active wood seem like necessary ingredients to elevate the spirit to a drinkable level. Given that Ledaig is very powerful spirit, it can absorb very strong cask influence without being overwhelmed, so the used cooperage that typifies many of these releases just doesn't cut it. Since most of these young Ledaigs seem to be from 2005, I wonder if releases over the next couple of years will finally be old enough to start hitting the mark.

With that said, a lot of people who reviewed this on WhiskyBase liked it a lot, so there's clearly an audience for these kinds of malts. But it appears to not be available anymore, so the point is academic.

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