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The Whisky Exchange announces 2023 Whisky of the Year

The Whisky Exchange's whisky of 2023 has been revealed.

Updated: ago
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The heavily peated Ledaig 18 Year Old has triumphed in The Whisky Exchange’s annual competition in which members of the public vote to determine the Whisky of the Year.

Ledaig, produced at Tobermory distillery on the picturesque Isle of Mull, claimed the top spot in the 9th annual Whisky of the Year blind tasting hosted by The Whisky Exchange.

The name Ledaig (pronounced Led-chig) comes from the original name for the area in which Mull’s only whisky distillery is located and derives from the Gaelic term meaning 'safe haven'.

The 18-year-old expression is a deliciously fruity peated whisky, finished in sherry casks, balancing sweet, floral aromas with rich smoke and sea salt on the palate.

This year’s shortlist included a mix of whiskies from across Scotland, with some unexpected bold flavours.

After much deliberation, whisky-lovers were encouraged to critique each whisky for nose, palate and finish, and select a first and second choice via a voting form.

All whiskies in the tasting were under £85 retail price, and all ongoing, commercially available releases. In addition to Ledaig 18 Year Old, the shortlist featured:

  • Jura 18 Year Old (runner up)
  • Old Pulteney 15 Year Old (third place)
  • Oban Distillers Edition
  • Glen Grant 15 Year Old
  • Craigellachie 13 Year Old

Brendan McCarron, master distiller at Ledaig, said: "Ledaig 18 Year Old is truly a deliciously peated single malt Scotch that has rich and smoky sherry notes that are balanced with seaweed and light creosote in the mouth, before a long smoky finish with liquorice and sea spray notes.

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"We are truly honoured to have impressed the blind taste panel, and titles don't get much bigger than whisky of the year.”

Dawn Davies, head buyer at The Whisky Exchange, said: “I am over the moon to see Ledaig win this year.

"It’s exciting to see a peated malt take home the prize and it really is a delicious whisky.”

Award winning gin and rum

The Whisky Exchange has also recognised other exceptional bottles, a rum and a gin, nominated by industry experts and staff.

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Gin of the Year 2022: Stranger & Sons Gin (£34.95): Hailing from Goa, India and made with botanicals such as gondhoraj lemons, coriander, black pepper and cassia bark, as well as plenty of juniper, it has an aromatic, citrussy character with notes of warm pepper, and nutmeg throughout the palate.

Rum of the Year 2022: Appleton Estate 15 Year Old Black River Casks (£66.95): A 15-year-old rum from Appleton Estate, inspired by the Black River which was integral to Jamaica's rum-making history and provides the water used to make all Appleton Estate rums. The palate offers notes of toasted almond, hazelnuts, orange peel, vanilla and roasted coffee beans that linger in the finish.

All of The Whisky Exchange Of the Year winners are given a dedicated landing page on the Whisky Exchange website for the year to showcase the producer and the bottling.

To buy the whisky of the year, click here.

Day in the Life: Caitlin Heard, team leader and distiller at The Borders Distillery, Hawick
Known for cake making, experimental jam recipes, Champagne and gin drinking (and the inability to cook Gnocchi), Rosalind writes for The Scotsman on all things food and drink related as well as hosting Scran, The Scotsman's food and drink podcast.
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