Ledaig 16yo Gordon & MacPhail Connoisseurs Choice (43.0%): This whisky is distilled in 1990 when the distillery started to run again after a decade of silence and three years before it has been purchased by Burn Stewart Distillers Ltd. It has a quite different character than the current Ledaig bottlings you can find around. Peat level is pretty low and it has matured in sherry casks. Color: Amber, like clover honey. Nose: Overpowering spoiled milk and aged camembert cheese coming straight from sherry casks. I can also smell some sea air and hint of peat hidden behind. Actually maybe it is not peat but charred oak. Candied apple, calvados and honey. Palate: Very floral. Apple is still there and dominant but in a more fresh way like newly sliced on a plate. Nice white pepper spiciness at the end. Finish: Medium and peppery. Overall: It is a very enjoyable whisky but definitely not what I expected from a Ledaig. It has a very different character. On the other hand it is reasonably priced around $55.00 for a 16 yo whisky.
Glentauchers 18yo Glenhaven (63.2%): I had this bottle for a while. We used to call it "mystery dram" since I couldn't find any detailed info about Glenhaven so far. I know only that they were actively offering independent bottlings in USA in mid 1990's. This whisky is distilled in 1976 and bottled in 1995 at a killer cask strength of 63.2%. The bottle looks very old school and handsome with it's simple white label and screw cap. Color: Pale straw. Actually it is too pale for an 18 yo whisky. It must have spent it's whole life in second or third fill barrels or maybe in something bigger like a hogshead or butt. Nose: Very floral... Metal container, like Sigg bottle, ginger and sweet herbs. It opens up beautifully with water and gets perfumelike, even more floral and grassy. Raw honey and marzipan. Palate: This a very floral dram. Like chewing flower crowns. Nice sizzling black pepper spiciness shows up. Malt notes, sourdough and sharp orange zest jam follows towards the end. Finish: Very very long and peppery. Overall: It has an old and mature feeling like your dad's sweaters. It looks ordinary and old, smells old, tastes old but solid... This dram is growing in me every day. It has a very warm and comforting feeling. Perfect for a cold winter day... Also knowing that I won't be able to find it ever again makes it special.