Scent of the Sea
Tobermory is a name that conjures many thoughts in my head. I’m of an age young enough to recall the famous multi-coloured seafront as the eponymous town in the children’s television series Balamory. However, despite being as brightly coloured as one of those houses, this 18 year old is all grown up and takes itself far more seriously than the children’s characters ever did.
The appearance is stunning. It is clear and deep and has a wonderful amber colour that borders on red. Holding the glass up to the light transports you to a glorious red sunset on a balmy summer’s evening. That gorgeous red-tinged colour makes this dram stand out from the rest on its own, but the nose is equally stunning.
Rich and pronounced it evokes memories of a coastal forest, and of brine-soaked leather. The sherry finish reveals itself in those earthy fruity scents and you can smell all 18 of the liquid’s years in the musty leather. Nosing this whisky is like burying your nose in the leather bound pages of an aged captain’s log, all sea salt and leather with those sherry hints teasing you about what is to come. A little water brings the lighter fruit tones to fore and you begin to get a sense of the complexity that this dram holds. Ripe peaches and overripe apples vie for attention with the still present earthy morels. In all it is an exciting nose.
In the mouth the dram has that classic island salt tang and a smokiness that is subtle and refined. It is dry and has punchy flavours, of which the sherry is the dominant; those first fill Oloroso barrels certainly did their job. But underneath this taste is supported by the oily brine and salted leather tastes that the nose suggested. Vanilla and smoke are also present and lend the whisky the depth and maturity that you expect in an 18 year old scotch.
The finish is long and complex and doesn’t disappoint. The smokiness and saltiness lingers and continues, maintaining those thoughts of the sea.
In all the Ledaig 18 is a fine dram that really brings to mind the place in which it is made. It’s remarkable and refreshing to find a drink that embodies the place that births it in quite this way.