Whisky Advocate

Top five commenters get some rare Ledaig

January 3rd, 2010

I asked you to help me pick which rare whisky to open up on Christmas Eve on this blog posting. And, as I posted here on Christmas Eve, the bottle I opened, as decided by you, was the 1973 vintage, 16 year old “Connoisseurs Choice” Ledaig single malt scotch from the Isle of Mull. A delicious whisky!

As I promised I would do, I shared this bottle with many whisky lovers over the holidays. There’s about 1/3 of the bottle remaining, and I want to share what’s left too.

I thought the proper thing to do with the rest of the bottle is to share it with you. And it’s only fair to reward the most active commenters here on WDJK. So, I’m going to send 50 ml samples to my the top five commenters. As of the end of the year, they were (with number of comments):

Sam K (183)

Red_Arremer (172)

B.J. Reed (125)

Louis (110)

Two-bit Cowboy (94)

Congratulations guys! If you can send me a private email ( with your mailing address, I’ll get the sample out to you. If you want, please feel to post your thoughts of the whisky up here after you had the chance to taste it.

And in case you were curious, those just missing the top five:

Todd (87)

Bgulien (87)

Neil Fusillo (85)

butephoto (84)

J. C. Skinner (80)

Happy New Year everyone! Here’s to a great 2010! And thanks for stopping by.

32 Responses to “Top five commenters get some rare Ledaig”

  1. Steffen Bräuner says:

    Con grats

    I hope we get 5 additional tasting reviews of this old day whisky


  2. John Hansell says:

    Great idea Steffen. I added an invitation for them to do it in my post.

  3. Well done, guys…great idea, John!

  4. butephoto says:

    Well done everyone. Looking forward to some other folks’ thoughts on the whisky too.

  5. Scott says:

    Wow, congrats guys!! I hope you all enjoy your samples!!

    *vows to be more active this year!*

  6. Texas says:

    Very cool!

  7. Red_Arremer says:

    Thanks John, this is really cool!

    Steffen, I’ll be posting a review up here for sure.

  8. bgulien says:

    Drats, shouldn’t have that holiday…
    Congratulations to the 5. And a cool initiative, John.
    There’s only hoping that the other bottles will go the same way 😉

  9. Todd says:

    This is a real treat – early 70s Ledaigs were real peat bombs, and well structured. Happy new year from Todd, runner up

  10. John Hansell says:

    Todd, it was the right thing to do.

    I plan on doing this again next year, so maybe you and bgulien will be the benefactors then?

  11. JWC says:

    john, it’s these things and your responsiveness and interaction with posters that, in my opinion, make you unique. i hope you and yours enjoyed the holidays and i look forward to your opinions on the 2010 releases.

  12. B.J. Reed says:

    I am truly honored – and will try to parcel out a wee sample to a few folks here.

  13. Thank you, John. This is quite an honor, and I, too, will share my thoughts.

    I hope you’ll excuse me for indulging in a bit of humor:

    This gives “whisky as a lubricant” a whole new meaning when put in the context of my grandmother telling me “the squeaky wheel gets the grease.”

  14. lawschooldrunk says:

    And those who just missed “just missing?”


  15. lawschooldrunk says:

    Hey, Mark Gillespie.

    I know you have some samples laying around too…

  16. Louis says:

    It really is an honor, I look forward to posting my tasting notes.



  17. sam k says:

    I’m not usually much of a “tasting notes” guy, but I will treat this charge with all due respect and let everyone know where the “spirit” guides me.

    Thanks John. This is a very magnanimous gesture! I’m pleased to be a part of the WDJK circle.

  18. What a lovely way to start the year! 🙂

  19. patrick says:

    I was not close to the podium, so no regrets.
    To the lucky winners, enjoy your dram!
    And kind gesture of John 🙂

  20. JC Skinner says:

    So close…
    So very close…

  21. […] It pays to contribute on whisky blogs.  John Hansell is giving his top 5 commenters a sample of a rare Ledaig. […]

  22. Neil Fusillo says:

    Haha! That’s a great way to share the wealth, as it were, and encourage participation. Looking forward to some additional reviews of the Ledaig.

  23. Louis says:

    The eagle has landed, my sample arrived today. The plan is to compare it to Lagavulin 16 and Caol Ila 18, both the distillery versions and bottled at 43% ABV. This is the closest I can come up with, using bottles not open for too long, and I don’t have any bottles from that era. Depending on what else is going on at home, I will do the HTHTH either this weekend or next and then post my findings.

    Thanks again, John.



  24. John Hansell says:


    Glad to know you got it safely! Enjoy!

  25. sam k says:

    Mine arrived yesterday (Orthodox Christmas for those who adhere) and with highs here expected to be no more than 20F this weekend, I may have to jump in feet first. Will let you all know.

    Thanks John!

  26. The Pony Express (aka Mark, the UPS guy) delivered a package this afternoon.

    Thank you, John.

    More to follow ….

  27. Tasting night with the Two-bit Cowboy

    A friend, John M, came by tonight to have us make a few copies of scientific docs for his research. I broke out the sample bottle of Ledaig 1973 16 year old Gordon & Macphail “Connoisseurs Choice” that John H sent me. John M is the one person I know who’s able to appreciate both John H’s gesture and this whisky. Here’s what John M and I thought:

    Color: fine gold, crystal clear (a clarity unknown in current OBs)

    Body: medium: nice legs but no oiliness

    Nose: sweetly complex, leather, hay, malt, (no poignant peat/smoke as I had expected)

    Palate: oak, malt, old leather, older mown hay, hint of citrus – maybe orange, vanilla. Gave the middle of the tongue a loitering hot sensation. Warms, doesn’t burn, all the way down, and stays warm for a while. Hand warming the whisky in the Glencairn glass for several minutes opened it slightly and intensified the old mown hay, vanilla, and wood. A most pleasant oak

    The finish wasn’t long, but lingered enough for deep contemplation of this wonderful whisky. Ice-rink smooth, exciting, soothing

    John Hansell @ original post:

    Thank you so very much for sharing this whisky with me. I’ve been allowed to do some terrific things in my life: float for three days on the Navy’s aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk, fly in the backseats of the Air Force’s F-15 and F-16 fighters, and a few other things, but getting to share this whisky with John M tonight is bigger than any life goal on my list. Thank you.

  28. sam k says:

    Tasting night in Central PA! Cold and wet outside, warm and inviting inside.

    Light, brilliant gold appearance with decent (but not big) legs.

    Upon opening and pouring, the Ledaig offers some peat smoke on the nose, but as time goes on, it fades into the background. Leather joins the smoke, as does a bit of malt.

    The whisky is absolute tongue silk. Light to medium in body and smooth from start to finish. I get that heat that two-bit refers to, but I don’t think it’s the alcohol. My rye background makes me think it’s a little peppery spiciness instead. A bit of mint in there somewhere, too, with an underlying malt sweetness. Smoky, yes, but no medicinal iodine.

    Warm on the way down, with a dry-ish finish, which is where I pick up a little oak. Man, I’m not a smokehead by any means, but this may be the most well-balanced Islay I’ve ever had the pleasure to try! Plus, if I didn’t know it was bottled at 80 proof, I’d have guessed higher, which scores a couple of points right there.

    Thanks John, for this out-of-body experience! I hope we hear from the rest of the lucky ones!

  29. sam k says:

    P.S. As a follow up to two-bits life experiences, I have piloted a Goodyear blimp, no…really!

  30. sam k:

    Modern Ledaigs are distilled at Tobermory distillery on the Isle of Mull, aged at Deanston in the Highlands, and bottled back on Mull. Don’t know if our bottle followed that same distilling/aging ritual.

    I’d have traded you a fighter ride for the blimp! Very cool.

  31. sam k says:

    Damn, cowboy, I automatically assumed, I guess…

    Their spirit takes quite the trip during its existence.

    I got the blimp ride by being persistent many years ago, and during the flight, I asked the pilot how hard it was to fly the thing.

    “Do you have a pilot’s license?” he asked. “Well, no…” “Oh, alright.” He stood up with the gondola full of passengers (eight, I think), let me sit in his seat, and showed me how it was operated. Everyone else got a turn, too. Really hard to wreck a blimp!

  32. sam k said, “Really hard to wreck a blimp!”

    Not so with the F-16, Sam. The night before I flew I spent an hour in the simulator. Crashed every time I tried to land. Even had trouble with straight-and-level when the colonel said, “It’s your jet.” It was “his jet” most of the time, especially when we were close to the ground.

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