Whisky Sponge’s 24th Edition sees an enormous, prehistoric sea monster Spongezilla laying waste to Tobermory – which is a shame, as it’s really a rather lovely place and I was planning on heading over there in the not-too-distant future. It will come as little surprise to many of you that of all the Sponge’s released to date – this Ledaig had me over on the Decadent Drinks website promptly. This nuclear radiation powered release has been matured in a refill sherry butt and is bottled at 53% ABV - which it is suggested is because everyone is “...a big bunch of jessies who can't handle cask strength whisky...”, but in reality, is in fact because Angus knows the merits of canny alcoholic strength selection.
Nose: Spongezilla might come across as a hulking beast, but there’s a surprising amount of sophistication and tenderness here. Smoked clove-studded ham, squid ink and stepped apple tea is joined by cocoa powder and herbal smoke. Deeper, barnyard funk and cigarette ash sit with paraffin oil, porridge and chopped almonds. Undeniably Ledaig – but there’s admirable restraint here too. Reduction reveals concrete and wall plaster together with putties and clays, medicinal wraps, oyster, seaweed and saline. There’s quite a lot going on here that makes manipulating the ABV well worthwhile.
Taste: Lamp oils and pan fats join roast ham and burnt ends. Salted lemon slices lift the whisky up, whilst damp peat, sea spray and wet wool seek to pull it back down. Quite crystalline in places with shale, slate and rocky outcroppings – before heading into burnt nuts, industrially tinged medicinal smoke and mentholated oakiness. Dilution retains the shape and style overall, but considerably ups the brightness and sweetness levels with candy lemon drops, lime gel and a scattering of jelly babies.
Finish: Long with menthol, smoked eucalyptus and a handful of chopped herbs.
Whisky Sponge’s city destroying Mull monster is rather less scaly and much fluffier and cuddlier than I expected. Whilst all of the various cues you’d expect to find from Ledaig of this age are here – they’re neatly scattered throughout the nose and palate both neat and reduced. As such, I find this to be very fun whisky indeed - it possesses a wonderfully playful adaptability which can be modified entirely depending on one’s mood. Pretty excellent and right up my street whether dropped with some water or simply served neat. Don’t mind if I kaiju.
Review sample provided by Decadent Drinks