As with getting to know each other, the impression here is: an active barrel. Lots of sweet notes of burnt caramel, vanilla and toffee. The octopus is not for nothing on the label, a maritime impact is undeniable, sea breeze and seaweed.
The smoke is a bit greasy, but above all it is "dirty" and has a strong impact from a burning cowshed (smoldering wet hay, a hint of manure). A bit of citrus fruit can still be found, rather in the background, but comes out stronger with a few drops of water.
At the start this Ledaig is very peppery (black pepper) but with nicely integrated alcohol. After the mouth has got used to the spiciness, a lot of vanilla, some forest honey, roasted hazelnut and almond and a lot of roasted aromas come into play.
"Dirt" is still there, a dirty aroma. So I imagine how something earth, brackish water and hay tastes together with salty olives. A little water dampens these notes and puts the sweetness more in the foreground.
The finish is long, here it gets spicy from the oak, but not too bitter, ash and vanilla.
A great and convincing symbiosis of the distillery character with the bourbon barrel has been achieved here. The whisky has a lot of steam, a nice balance and leaves nothing to be desired. What keeps me from a 90P rating is that the Ledaig smoke is a bit too strict for me here, too rich and farmy.