Last month, on the recommendation of a Facebook friend, I managed to locate and try a bottle of 10-year-old Ledaig scotch whisky. She claimed it was even better than my usual favourites, Lagavulin and Caol Ila.
Based on my experience with that one bottle, I can say she is almost surely right. If it isn't better, it certainly is at least as good as the best of the other peated/smoky scotches that I like. Further, I did think it was better, although this assessment was based on just that one bottle.
So I set myself out on a mission to buy some more Ledaig. The Ontario liquor monopoly [LCBO] no longer has any Ledaig in stock in ANY of its stores or warehouses anywhere in the entire province, and for now it has no plans to stock Ledaig on a regular basis. After some discussion with the representatives at the local monopoly outlet, I was given the phone number of the Canadian agent for Burn & Stewart, owners of the distillery in Tobermory, Isle of Mull, Scotland, where this whisky is produced.*
To my great delight, last week I was able to order two 6-bottle cases. It is only slightly more than half the price of Lagavulin and about $10/bottle less expensive than Caol Ila.
If I had a speed dialer (or knew how to use one on my iPhone), this agent would be on it. I'm eagrely awaiting the delivery.... to our door, yet!
From their website:
For ten full years, oak wood casks lie in rest in ancient vaults.
Within them, the aromatic Lochan waters commune with the peated malted barley to create a deep golden treasure that is both floral and smoky.
Ledaig is one of our exquisite peated single malts, an integral part of the Tobermory family, and sits beautifully alongside our signature malts.
Unchill-filtered @ 46.3% ABV.
Hmmm. I wonder if maybe the 46.3% alcohol is one of the reasons I like it. It has a bit more bite than other whiskies with only 40% or 43% alcohol.
Interestingly, this scotch is readily available in Alberta, which is where my order is being shipped from; I gather from another Facebook friend it is readily available in Newfoundland as well.
This is just another example of the service provided in a competitive market: different outlets offer a much better range of choices than monopolists.
*I have probably mentioned this before, but 5 years ago I spent several days in Oban where I toured the local distillery. During one of those days, I took a day-trip to th nearby islands of Mull, Iona, and Staffa. I had no idea the Tobermory distillery on Mull even existed. If I had, I might have arranged my travels quite differently.
Here are some of my favourite photos from that trip:
Oban, with Kerrara and Mull in the distance.
Fingal's Cave, Staffa