Lagavulin. One of my favourite Islay distilleries, has only a few expressions available (12CS , 16 , 16 DE to name the most common), and every new expression released is a reason to celebrate. I love the 16 year old and think of it as one of the cornerstones of every whisky lover’s bar. The 16 year old DE is even more complex and a lot of people i know cherish it as one of their top Islay official bottling.
This year, as part of the Diageo ‘Distillery Only’ line of malts that can only be bought at the distillery (and then later at EBay for much more money of course) , they have released this NAS bottling at cask strength (52,5%). I meant to get samples of all the Feis Ile and some hard to get bottles from whiskysamples.eu, but due to customs difficulties, we had to cancel the transaction. Gladly one of my good whisky friends (and guest blogger here – Shai) did go to Islay this year and attended Feis Ile 2010, and brought back a bottle of this baby (among other wonderful drams), enabling me to sample this Lagavulin, at last.
Essentially this dram is a NAS which was finished in sherry seasoned American oak casks, much like the ‘Distiller’s Edition’, and bottled at a higher strength.
Lagavulin distillery only bottling 2010 , 52,5% (available only at the distillery)
Nose: Sweeter nose than the regular Lagavulins . Sherry sweet effect is less intense than the 16 DE however and fruitier by far : Tangerines, peaches. Let’s not forget the ash and the lovely Smokey burnt sugar. I like this nose a lot. Like a Lagavulin perfume. Peat and then fruits to complement.
Mouth : Starts on peaty sweet coals, oily textured. Sweeter on impact then drying and getting more ashy tarry and sooty, more ashtray notes. Some prunes and dates syrup and vanilla as well. Water brings out more strongly the Smokey elements, which is nice. I do prefer this one neat.
Finish : Long – Smoke , tar, and leather saddle ending on bitter prunes dipped in 85% dark chocolate and espresso mix.
Bottom line :
This is a very good Lagavulin, even excellent.Wonderful sweet profile, and fruity elements. The sherry finish is very well integrated, however i think i like this one a wee bit less than the ‘standard’ 16 DE (1991 bottling). I do feel that the PX carries a bit more wood smoke and barbecued meat than this one. Both are excellent. A very good buy. If you have a chance to grab a bottle, do not think twice. Snatch it! while they last.