Today I review the final whisky of the Blind Tasting Competition and the second 90-pointer in a row, courtesy of this brilliant Ledaig 1995 24 Years bottled by the WhiskyNerds. I’d tasted it before, yet now thought it was a Ben Nevis from the same bottler. Despite this I scored enough points for age and ABV to stay in the lead. What I’m trying to say is: I won the Blind Tasting Competition and I’m pretty chuffed about it.
Sure, I was wrong more often than I was right, and sometimes it was frustrating when a whisky was revealed—especially the times when I thought I should’ve probably scored better. Which is exactly the case with the WhiskyNerds’ Ledaig. I tasted it three months ago and yet I didn’t recognise it for what it was.
Blind tasting is hard enough as it is, especially in a competitive environment. All of a sudden I’m not just focusing on what I’m nosing and tasting; instead I’m trying to match everything to a distillery. Where I often stumble is when I set out with a certain notion about what a whisky probably is. That happened with sample #14. For some reason I pretty quickly figured it was distilled at Ben Nevis, ensuring I did not properly search my sensory memory for other possibilities.
It would’ve been disappointing had I lost my first place standing because of blinders like those. Instead, I don’t really care right now. Because after a second place finish in 2014 and a fourth place finish in 2017, I finally was able to secure first place. Good times!
Ledaig 1995 24 Years (46.4%, WhiskyNerds, C#128)
Nose: Plenty of minerals, chalky and somewhat fruity with a creamy waxiness, forest floor and a whiff of copper coins. A touch of green banana peel, apples, brown butter and a sprinkle of aniseed.
Taste: An earthy arrival with a touch of eucalyptus. Pretty concentrated with bitter lemon zest and some pink grapefruit, as well as a lovely creamy mouthfeel. Somewhat spicy too (black pepper), and just a pinch of salt as well as some pine sap. A whisper of charred oak.
Finish: Fruits, somewhat drying and with plenty of minerals. A touch of licorice even.
A winner from top to bottom, but be aware it is probably not a style that suits everybody and might not align with your expectations of Ledaig, as I’ve written about in my original review. Still available here.
Thanks so much to Nils van Rijn of Bestofwhiskies.com for organising the Blind Tasting Competition—and inviting me to participate. The line-up was quality, especially considering you could participate for 50 euro and basically receive 14 samples of good to sometimes great whisky.
There are plans for a bigger and better version of the Blind Tasting Competiton next year. If you’ve never participated in such a thing and want to work on your tasting skills, I really suggest you take the plunge and sign up. There’s no guarantee you’ll finish in the top 10, but I’m convinced it’ll be a great learning experience, as it has been for me.
Hope to see you all tomorrow when I return to my regular review schedule with the latest release by the WhiskyNerds.
Your leadership in this tasting competition was as Lewis Hamilton’s in Formula 1:) You didn’t need the quick start at the beginning to finish the 1st after all. Being myself a humble whisky enthusiast, I didn’t expect such specialists like you to be a part of the competition.
Nonetheless I cannot appreciate the last sample of Ledaig as you do. It has nothing in common with any Ledaig I’ve had so far, more to be a Tobermory style. I do really enjoy “dirty” style of Springbank, Croftengea or some of Ben Nevis, but this one became a tough task for me to solve. I do not believe that we had different whiskies in sample bottles #14, so I can find only one reason for such polar impressions, and that is personal preferences in smell and taste. Maybe 20 ml is not enough to open all the potential of this Ledaig?
Congrats on 3rd place! Mid-90s Ledaig indeed is nothing like the younger Ledaig you’re probably more familiar with. The modern ones are peat bombs while the older Ledaig is anything but.
I’m sure you had the same whisky in your sample bottle, and maybe you’re right and 2cl isn’t enough. Did you enjoy the Tobermory from Kintra though? It shares a lot of DNA with this Ledaig.
I “enjoyed” Tobermory exactly in the same way as Ledaig. Almost identical feelings. However I have a full bottle of Tobermory from Kintra in my collection. There will be a second chance for this whisky someday.