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Ledaig - Scotland's Most Underappreciated Malt

On our recent trip to Scotland, David OG and I tasted a sherry barrel of Ledaig that we thought people might go crazy for.  Peaty, smoky, musty, with earthy splendor and the rich, chewiness that we love about some other sherry-aged malts.  Plus, it was cheap!  "This is a no-brainer!" we said to each other.  Then we remembered one very important fact - it's Ledaig. 

No one even knows how to say Ledaig, let alone drink it.  I'll never forget calling it "Le-chig" in front of Stewart Laing, only to have him correct me and say it's pronounced "Le- dayge." "No one in Scotland calls it 'Le-chig' he said, so don't call it that in front of another Scotsman," he told us.  That was until his brother came into the room and said, "Oh, that's a great barrel of 'Le-chig.'"  We couldn't help but to roar with laughter.  "Everyone calls it Le-chig" said the other Laing, much to the chagrin of his brother.  Tasting with the Laing brothers, we encountered yet another great example of Tobermorey's peated malt, but again we knew that Ledaig just wasn't a real mover.

Why is no one drinking Ledaig, I wonder?  It's peated, inexpensive, tasty, and it caters to all the Islay drinkers out there.  Looking at our internal numbers, Ledaig ranks as the absolute worst selling single malt we carry!  I think that's crazy because it's definitely not the worst tasting.  Is it a lack of knowledge?  Is it a lack of interest?  Even my endorsement of it seems to fall on deaf ears.  We brought in a good amount of the young Murray McDavid sherry cask and it's still sitting here like a dead duck in the water.  Even my attempts to offer it at a closeout discount drew little enthusiasm.

What's the deal? Did I miss a Hansell post where he called it piss water? 

-David Driscoll

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Reader Comments (8)

Wait, you opened with a stroy about a great barrel and didn't follow up. Did you pass it up? I was getting my credit card out.

I think Ledaig is one of many good malts that just gets lost in the shuffle. It's not very well promoted (I don't mean by you guys, I mean generally) and it doesn't have a clear niche. People seldom seem to be looking for something medium peated, and for most people peat=Islay period (with an exception for Talisker). Heck, what the hell is a Mull anyway? Longrow is probably in the same category (maybe it has something to do with being a secondary product of a distillery). Still, I'm surprised it sells that poorly.

May 11, 2011 | Unregistered Commentersku

I have a 15 yr Ledaig that I really enjoy so I bought a bottle of the Murray McDavid sherried version you mention, though I have yet to open it. Excited to taste it and see how that soft style of peat is influenced by the sherry and vice versa.

I also thought it was pronounced “Le-chig” or “Led-chig” which I could’ve sworn I read on the bottle itself at one point. I’ve also heard “Le-dig.” Of course here in Colorado I hear (and have said) all kinds of strange scotch pronunciation attempts

May 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBryan R

We passed it up. 600 bottles to sell of "how do you say it?"

May 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDavid D

I drink a decent amount of Ledaig. I almost went for the Murray McDavid sherry cask, but I am hoarding my pennies for your single cask stuff. It suffers from a lack of name recognition in general and maybe because it doesn't have a wider range or a "flagship" expression (like an 18+ y/o) the OB 10 doesn't get tasted?

May 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterChris

Agree with Sku, there's a lot of smoky Islay cards in the deck and Ledaig probably just gets lost in the shuffle. Maybe someone of renown calling it piss water would help, as it seems damned with faint praise. Once upon a time I gave Ledaig 10 a shot, but thought it nosed a bit sulfur-y and didn't quite redeem itself on the palate. Didn't make a great first impression and that's a rugged barrier to overcome at the $40 price point. Obviously that's my experience-limited opinion, but maybe others had a similar experience with Ledaig 10 and it stifled their curiosity as well?

May 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRN

Some people just seem to have it out for the Tobermory distillery... I think there's a few of the OBs on the shitlst. I've never had an OB of Tobermory, but I do like the Murray McDavid bottle you carry. It's very reminiscent of Oban 14 to me in terms of combining sweet malt with a trace amount of peat. But if Tobermory is already unpopular, than the peated version makes it less accessible of a malt. *shrug* That and people looking for Islay style will gravitate toward Lagavulin, Laphroaig and Ardbeg. How well does Kilchoman sell? I love it, but it probably carries the stigma of being both a new distillery and a young whisky...

May 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterEugene

Kilchoman at least had some buzz about being new and, of course, its location on Islay. Tobermorey does alright especially with the MMc expressions. Ledaig doesn't sell no matter what bottle it comes in.

May 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDavid D

In Ralfy's review of a 4 year old Ledaig, he pronounces it as Le-chaig. Now I'm really confused.

May 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterEricH

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