Smoke & Glory

Some of those reading may remember the old Cockburn’s advert on television in which the Russian Admiral is taught the correct pronunciation by the Royal Navy. He takes to the concept of ignoring the ‘ck’ with a great enthusiasm, 

It seems to be a trend with Scottish names. Menzies, Macleod, Colquhoun. Whilst not as unintelligible to the uninitiated as Welsh, Scottish names so often leave people with a sense of embarrassment after a misguided attempt at the phonetic.

Ledaig, a sherried single malt from Tobermory Distillery on the Isle of Mull, is actually pronounced ‘licheck’, or ‘letchick’. This Hebredian distiller was started in 1798 by a kelp merchant by the name of John Sinclair. 

The War of the First Coalition had prevented anyone from distilling for some time due to fears over grain shortage, and he was initially told by the government to build a brewery instead. This cheeky character was not one to bow to conventional thought, and it paid off. By the time he had completed the building of his distillery the laws had changed and production went ahead.

It has a long history and interesting history. Spanish galleons supposedly lie beneath the mud of the bay and treasure hunters have long since searched for their fortune, at one point fighting a pitched battle with the local Laird and his men for rights to the treasure, real or not. 

It seems that little of any value was recovered from the depths of Tobermory harbour, but there is at least one treasure to come out of that little town (that is of course not including the beloved television show Balamory, filmed in the town).

A single malt, this peated whisky has been non-chill filtered and is natural in colour. Produced using peated concerto barley, a favourite for generations of distillers, this whisky has the classic smokiness that we have come to expect. Aged in oak barrels previously used to make sherry that lend it flavours of fruit and mahogany, it’s no wonder that sherried single malts are among some of the most prized whiskies in the world.

By William Prior