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CROFTENGEA 12 yo 2007 & LEDAIG 11 YO 2008 ‘MASTERS OF MAGIC’ (2019, HIGH SPIRITS, 46%)

Let’s close our window on the latest bottling of Nadi Fiori, taken from the series Masters of Magic: it’s up to the peaters today, so here comes the review of Croftengea (one of the many faces of Loch Lomond) and then Ledaig, both aged in ex-bourbon barrels.

Croftengea 12 yo (2007/2019, High Spirits, 46%)

N: all wrong, all charming: gorgeously shining. Kimchi, fermented vegetables; sweet and sour cucumbers (the Scandinavian ones, with a bit of dill); something cheesy; smoked ribs, to testify a presence of meat. A whisky made of gastronomy. Wet tobacco leaves – with decidedly moist notes. Lemon, fresh; yellow fruit on the edge of the tropical.

P: a curious mix of peat, hot pepper and tropical fruit. Fat, oily; peach and mango yogurt. The peat component is all earthy, very organic and chemical, a bit fleshy and smoky – pork fat burnt on the grill. Still a hint of smoked cheese.

F: The idyll continues between one dimension of meat and cheese and another of ripe fruit, straddling the tropical line. It remains umami, rather long and with a chemical peat smoke.

86/100. All messed up, on paper, but in the glass is able to turn into a great fresco, with a grotesque and alienating charm. Can we say it?, We like Loch Lomond more and more. Freak yes, but Freak Antoni.

Ledaig 11 yo (2008/2019, High Spirits, 46%)

N: on the nose it’s very, very maritime and really welcoming: lots of oyster. Smoked mussels (the glorious ones from Campbeltown). Notes of fennel. If the marine component is certainly clear and distinct, it must be said that the peaty part remains relatively aloof, with a present and acrid smoke, but not too pronounced. Lots of lemon. The profile refers almost to a Caol Ila.

P: here it remains very coastal, salty and fishy, still smoked mussels, with a nice brackish – burnt herbs, we would say glasswort if we had to exaggerate. A very consistent vanilla and lemony sweetness – here too it has things that remind us of a sharper Caol Ila – liquid sugar.

F: long and persistent, rather clean and relatively sweet…

85/100. Very good, as always happens with Ledaig – which is not by chance seeing his quotations at brokers reach those of the most famous (and now inaccessible) whiskies of Islay. Very good, we were saying, perhaps a little too soft compared to what we expect from Ledaig: but we do not complain, because it is good and of an objectively frightening drinkability. Chapeau.

Recommended soundtrack: Skiantos – Sono un ribelle, mamma.

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