Lady of the Glen Single Casks April ’22 (part 1)

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Lady of the Glen is an independently-owned bottler of Scotch whisky. Founded in 2012 by Gregor Hannah, it has enjoyed recent success in the form of an Independent Bottler of the Year Award in the 2022 Icons of Whisky. It may be true that there are so many different awards flying around that it renders them practically meaningless but it’s still nice to see small businesses like Lady of the Glen being recognised.

I’ve been fortunate enough to taste a wide selection of drams from this bottler and have always found the quality to be of an impressive standard. On paper, their latest batch promises more of the same with some really interesting bottlings on offer.

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Glen Spey 2012 10-year-old Single Malt

Glen Spey is a relatively unknown Speyside distillery. Owned by Diageo, it spends much of its time producing spirit for use in various blended Scotch brands although there is a 12-year-old single malt available in the Flora & Fauna range.

Distilled January 2012 and bottled 2022, this single malt was matured for 10 years in a refill wine barrique. It should retail around £60.

Smell: Malty nose. Digestive biscuits. Pineapple. Lemon. Melon. Grapes. Apple and pear. New oak. Sawdust. Cinnamon and ginger. Paprika. Agave syrup. Marmalade on toast.

Taste: Fruity arrival. Peach, orange and apricots. Grilled pineapple. Caramel and toffee. Pepper and oaky spice. Touch of olive oil before more vibrant fruit notes return.

Thoughts: There’s lots of natural oils that give the whisky a lovely texture and it really adds to the overall experience. A wee splash of water brought everything together. The fruit and spices mingled better and it took a little of the heat out of the pepper.

The wine barrique was an inspired choice. It takes what could be a fairly standard Speyside malt and adds an array of fruits and spices, elevating the whisky into something altogether more interesting.

Value for money: This is a fine introduction to this latest batch from Lady of the Glen and at £60 it is well priced given the quality on offer.

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Ledaig 2011 10-year-old Single Malt

Ledaig is a heavily-peated single malt produced at Tobermory Distillery on the isle of Mull. This expression was distilled in 2011 and matured for a total of 10 years, including a finishing period in a refill tawny port cask. Retails around £95.00.

Smell: Coal fire smoke rising from Highland chimneys! Ash and charcoal. Sea shells on pebble beaches! Black pepper. Cinnamon. Ginger. The port gives some berry character – strawberry, raspberry. Fruit jam. Also some caramel and toffee. Oak. Aniseed. Strepsil throat lozenges.

Taste: The fruitiness leads the charge, lots of forest fruits / berries. Raspberry, apple and blackcurrant. Toffee and vanilla. Caramel sauce. Honey. Black pepper. The smoke holds back until the finish.

Thoughts: The port seems very bold at first but softens over time and the fruits slip into the background to leave a rich caramel whisky with some peppery heat and a big, smoky finish. I like that the smoke leads on the nose but takes an age to appear on the palate. It keeps things interesting.

It kinda does exactly what you’d expect from a port finished Ledaig but not necessarily in the way you’d expect. It’s a wonderful dram and exactly the kind of thing I want from an independent bottler.

Value for money: £95.00 is quite expensive for a 10-year-old but it’s in very limited numbers and the whisky is of the very best quality. Even at the price I think you’d feel you were getting bang for your buck. That’s how good it is.

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An Islay 2009 12-year-old single malt

A single cask single malt from an undisclosed Islay distillery. Distilled in 2009 and matured for a combined 12 years, including time spent in an Oloroso cask. Retails for £78.00.

Smell: Lots of sherry. Quite a clean sherry character though. Raisins. Syrup. Treacle. Honey. Prunes. Dark chocolate. New leather. Tobacco leaves. Then some ashy smoke came through, though its actually quite subtle compared to some Islay malts. There’s also interesting confectionery notes like Parma Violets and Love Hearts.

Taste: Thick sherry. Tobacco. Dark chocolate. Oak. There’s some cayenne pepper but the heat isn’t too intense. Caramel. Highland Toffee. Coal dust. Smoke. A wee blast of sea air as it leaves the palate.

Thoughts: The smoke definitely isn’t as intense as you’d possibly expect. It’s there but it’s blanketed by the sherry. For my tastes water improved the experience. It brought more caramel and honey to the fore and even showed a little maltiness. It was like the sherry lifted a little. The smoke was still quite subtle (by Islay standards) but the overall experience was more balanced.

Value for money: I found this a perfectly acceptable whisky but it didn’t quite grab me in the way I thought it would. Still a solid marriage of smoke and sherry and the price seems fairly reasonable for such a bottling.

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For more on Lady of the Glen visit here

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