Google Little duets, Ardbeg vs. Ledaig

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Hi, this is one of our (almost) daily tastings. Santé!

August 3, 2016


Little duets, Ardbeg vs. Ledaig

I’ve written a few times already that modern Ledaig was the new Ardbeg, which seems to have ‘gently’ infuriated quite a few friends. Which, to tell you the truth, is understandable, as good people would like hidden gems to remain hidden as long as possible. And, well, maybe was I wrong… And there’s only one way to find out, setting both whiskies in the ring. Provided, no need to say, that they fight in the same category (age, strength, cask…)

Ar6 (55.7%, Elements of Islay, bourbon, 2016)

Ar6 (55.7%, Elements of Islay, bourbon, 2016) Four stars and a halfI so liked Ar1, 2, 4 and 5. Nope, never tried Ar3 (S., you useless ‘whisky blogger’!) Colour: gold. Nose: it’s a rather austere one, it seems, but it is quite ‘Ardbeg’, with a lot of tincture of iodine, hessian, Islay mud, ashes, and a wee feeling of capsicum and cocoa powder. It’s only after a good two minutes that gentler notes of custard and coconut oil come out, but they’d never get in the spirit’s way. Phew! Now what it hasn’t got, and what was in ‘old’ Ardbeg, is this very peculiar combination that used to involve coal tar and resinous camphor. With water: fresh almonds, paint, and linseed oil! That, I like a lot. Like a fish in water. Mouth (neat): a millimetric arrival, on lemon, smoked fish, tar, and vanilla. Totally modern Ardbeg ex-first or second fill bourbon. Full, big, and a tad simple, but there sure is a virtue to simplicity. With water: these notes of paint and almonds again, then verbena and other aromatic herbs. Ex-chartreuse cask? Finish: long, saltier, tarry, aromatic and herbal. Ardbeggian. Comments: frankly, I wasn’t totally convinced as long as it was unreduced, but indeed it totally loves water and becomes wonderful. A true Esther Williams of whisky. They should sell it with a bottle of Evian or Vittel. SGP:567 – 89 points.

Ledaig 10 yo 2005/2015 (56.7%, Single Cask Nation, refill bourbon barrel, cask #10, 235 bottles)

Ledaig 10 yo 2005/2015 (56.7%, Single Cask Nation, refill bourbon barrel, cask #10, 235 bottles) Four stars and a half Labelled as Tobermory but it’s well a Ledaig. Let’s see what our American friends have come up with… Colour: pale white wine. Nose: yeah well, the cousinhood is very obvious. The cask has been a little less active here, so there’s almost no custard whatsoever (let alone any coconut), but the cores are very similar indeed. Hessian, coal smoke, mercurochrome, green pepper, seawater… It’s almost troubling, to tell you the truth. With water: carbolinium, brine, and mud, with also a lot of ashes. Cigar ashes. Mouth (neat): punchy and chiselled, very straight, on something like smoked and salted limejuice. Certainly more brine and seawater than in the Ardbeg, and less roundness. With water: another perfect young Ledaig. Perhaps a notch tart and bitter (over-infused green tea) but many whisky enthusiasts love this, including this very one. Finish: long, clean, salty, very coastal, ashy and smoky. Lemon-flavoured marzipan in the aftertaste. Comments: it’s one of the mezcaly ones. I’m totally unable to decide between these two whiskies, I’m afraid, for they’re so totally in the same league (and boxing category). SGP:467 - 89 points.

Well, with that we're well set…







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