The 10 year old Ledaig that we are going to taste today must be shared (as always) in a beautiful setting. To do this, I join 9 of my dearest friends on the occasion of my wedding, take out a flock of glencairn worthy of this drink and set it all up on a small table facing a valley in Cantal.
As the sun begins to come down, my brother takes out the bottle he brought for the occasion and puts it on the table. This is a solemn moment. The very clear liquid is just waiting to be savoured.
Barely reaches the bottom of the glasses, when the smell of peat worthy of the great Islay whiskies comes to our noses! The journey begins, we leave the green pastures of central France to join those of the no less green north of the Isle of Mull. The valley turns into the Sound of Mull and the slope in front of us into the coasts of the Scottish Highlands. We are now in the port of Tobermory (formerly known as Ledaig from the time of the Duke of Argyll).
Our noses plunge into the glasses and are directly violated by powerful peat (37 ppm like a good Port Charlotte d'Islay). It is medicinal and ashen, almost tarry. A second dive and it is now the sea spray from the port that arrives (showing us here that we are not in the southern Hebrides but in the northern one on the Argyll lands). A third passage highlights the barley, but also the freshly cut grass and even the smell of wet wood from an old rig moored in the harbour. We notice here, even before tasting it, the impact of ageing in a Hogshead type barrel (a subtle mixture of the reconstruction of a barrel based on old bourbon barrels and new barrel staves).
Let's have a taste. Members of the assembly tell me "I'm not very peaty". Ah! They're not disappointed. Certainly the marine, medicinal and carbonaceous peat is still there, but it remains quite soft and is accompanied by lemons, grapefruits and fresh pears which lightens it somewhat (and definitely makes us forget the Islay peat). Some people feel notes of pepper but in the end we will keep sweet but very light notes of vanilla.
It is true that once the violence of 48.4° and the violence of peat are over, you still stay on a sailor's whisky smoking its pipe around a peat fire!
The trip that this whisky, voted the best whisky in the Islands of Scotland at the 2015 World Whiskies Awards, proposed to us here, makes us want to take another trip. Unfortunately, at 9 on a bottle, we will have to wait to go back to a store selling Old Particular from Douglas Laing. It will be necessary to wait for us an evening at the Pot still, Glasgow pub to find such a sharing!