Updated: Jun 19, 2020
Score: 9.0 / 10
Type: Isle of Mull Single Malt
A few months back I was browsing the interwebs when I saw a post that said 'Yamazaki 12 for $80 at Costco'. Okay, I was more than interested, so I scoured the comments and turns out it was the Mission Valley Costco in San Diego - a mere 10 minute drive from where my family has lived for the past 12 years. Naturally I panic dialed them to see if anyone could run down and BUY BUY BUY! However they weren't available, but my sister did message me a week later to let me know she was going. For some background my sister was 6 months pregnant at the time and my brother in law has been sober for over a decade - a tough ask to see if they would go buy whisky for me, but she wanted to help so I was in luck! She found the rep and he laughed and said that they sold out of the $80 Yama in about 15 minutes (no surprise). We laughed it off and I told her no worries.
Fast forward a few months and I'm out for Thanksgiving so I decide to drop by this fabled Costco. Once I found their selection it was incredible (kicking myself for not getting a Midleton Very Rare). I snagged a Wild Turkey Master's Keep Rye which I raffled off, a Maker's Mark RC6 (fantastic bourbon) and then had a decision for my last bottle(s). The rep wanted me to get a 3 pack of Glenmorangie (10, Lasanta, Quinta Ruban) for $99 (steal) but I had already purchased that triple threat from a Denver store. Then I saw them... and grabbed two bottles of Alexander Murray & Co Ledaig Cask Strength 20 Year.
Nose: smoke, peat, honey, pear, apple, brine, seaweed, a note of spice
Palate: initial burst of light fruit, peaches, pear with a mild crackling cinnamon. Oily mouthfeel that tingles the tongue and almost feels carbonated. Once the carbonation sensation dissipates the citrus blends with thick whipping cream and dark chocolate notes that then transforms completely into an intense smoke ultimately fading into savory note and long lingering peat. Swishing the whisky in my teeth kickstarts the brine and spice which accelerates the whole process, but cuts down on the fruity/citrus notes while leaving a more bitter tobacco note.
Finish: smokey, briny and savory – I call it liquid bacon. Several minutes later lingering smoke and peat continue to fade – a very craveable sensation.
Score: 9.0 – Started at an 8.6 or 8.7 for me, but its just so dynamic and brings an enjoyable drinking experience to the table. I am happy to give this my AXEceptional rating as it ends with an A or 9.0. At first the burst of smoke is almost stunning and caught me off-guard, however as I got further and further into the dram it became less noticeable. The burst of fruit citrus on the first sip became harder to detect and the cream/chocolate notes became more and more prevalent. This is truly a dynamic drinker that checks all the boxes that I love in Scotch. There is always something new to detect or discover, the whisky transforms as you drink it, a unique finish/flavor with the liquid bacon and I love a good brine.
S+ Sensational - The Pinnacle (9.5+)
A - AXEceptional (astounding) (9-9.5)
B - bravo (step aBove average) (8-8.9)
C - competent (7-7.9)
D - disappointing (6-6.9)
F - flush it down the toilet (fail) (5.9 below)
Notes: Availability? Uncommon. This will pop up, but you're not going to find it at small liquor stores. Best bet is one of the bigger chains