Two new whiskies for the Gordon & Macphail’s Private Collection. A 19yo Ledaig and a 20yo Balblair


Today, dear readers, you are going to get a two-for-one review session.

I’ve been reviewing whisky after whisky after whisky and have a whole host of notes at the ready.  However it’s been a little difficult finding the time to actually post my notes.

That said, seeing as I had a little window of time in which to post up a review, I thought I’d kill two whiskies birds with one review stone.

The two today, to me, are a couple of odd ducks.  I’ve never had a finished Ledaig until now.  The same goes with the Balblair I’m also reviewing today.  Both are wine finished and part of the Gordon Macphail “Private Collection” range of whiskies.  Furthermore, both are bottled at 45% ABV which is an unusual bottling strength given that 40%, 43%, 46% and cask strength tend to be the most common…

20yo Balblair finished in Crozes-Hermitage Wood – 45% ABV – $145

Some notes from Gordon & Macphail:

Private Collection Balblair Distillery Crozes-Hermitage Wood Finish was distilled in 1991 and bottled in 2012 and again finished for 40 months from casks from the northern Rhône region of France.

On the nose –  Very heavy with the wine influence on this one.  It smells of tannins and Acid brand cigars (herbed, herbal, perfumed, perfumal? Nah, just perfumed).

Wow, chili peppers and… salted avocado (???).

Some fruits are hiding behind the winey scents.

Still more, we have some damp, dank sweetness swirling about the glass.  A oddly interesting nose.

There seems to be a bit of a fight going on with the scents here.

On the mouth – Similar to what I got on the nose.  The chili pepper zing hits the side of my tongue.  Mouth begins to water.

Cranberry relish and other tart fruit relishes.  Lots of red fruit and an interesting mouthfeel.

There’s a wet-like viscosity that is drying my tongue.  It doesn’t make sense but, it’s happening.

Cigars again.

Finish – Long, drying and filled with red fruits.

In sum – Totally NOT what I look for in a Balblair.  While it’s not *my* bag but I can see folks loving this one.

If you like your whiskies with a heavy wine influence, look no further.  This does a good job highlighting that aspect while still retaining it’s whiski-ness.

19yo Ledaig finished in St. Joseph Wood – 45% ABV – $95

Some notes from Gordon & Macphail:

The expression from Ledaig Distillery was distilled in 1993 and bottled in 2012 and finished in St Joseph casks for 40 months.

On the nose –  What’s to be expected from a nice, older Ledaig: Soft peat and nice fruits.

Apple lollipops, even apple schnapps.

Spiced gum drops, allspice.  Lots of various candied scents.

A bit of a mishmash and focused on the fruity elements but really nice smelling overall.

On the mouth – Here’s where is begins to get real!

Very wine forward but oh, so pleasantly so (red fruits, black pepper and just a drop of fresh cement)!

A little woody but not in a bad way at all.  It helps add in some wood spice elements.

A touch of wet cardboard (I often get this in whiskies where the cut of the distillate has a fair amount of tails.  Heck, I get this a lot in most Ledaigs/Tobermorys).

Great mouthfeel.

Finish – Drying with threads of peat throughout.  Pretty gosh darned long…

In sum – A very interesting whisky.  I enjoyed it thoroughly.  While the nose seemed a bit too focused, it really drew me in to taste and this whisky shines in flavor.  A even keeled finish with decent length.

I could enjoy this repeatedly.

Thanks to CR for the official samples!!