Ledaig has a lot in common with Islay, namely the use of peated malt, but it cuts a much different figure than your typical Islay peat bombs. Primarily that is because this 18 year old malt is finished with sherry casks, a practice that is not unknown in Islay but which isn’t all that common.
From the color of Ledaig 18 alone, it appears the finish is much deeper and longer than most sherry-finished Islay whiskies, as well, and here we really see the best of both worlds — smoky peat meeting sweet sherry.
The nose starts off a bit rocky and rustic — smoky, but almost brutish at times with rubbery notes. The sherry influence is much more present on the palate, which hits hard with an intense bittersweet orange flavor before diving into anise, cloves, gravel, and forest floor notes. The smokiness returns with a vengeance for the lengthy, hot, and smoldering finish — with more of that rubbery character, plus notes of iodine and kippers.
Peat freaks will get a kick out of this whisky, though it really tires you out as it runs you from smoke to sweet and back again.