As you probably know (if not, you will know pretty soon with all the anniversary celebrations) Lagavulin is Celebrating it’s 200th Anniversary this year. They will probably be releasing some interesting whiskies for Feis Ile 2016, and this is the first. It comes as good news for Lagavulin fans / collectors as Lagavulin has not released many new whiskies (except the yearly 12 yo Special Release). Although some would argue that releasing a 8 yo is not THAT impressive, you got to hand it to lagavulin for releasing such a young whisky with age statement , while many other whisky makers are option for the NAS solution, instead of showing one age digit on the label. Also, The pricing is not ridiculous, although it is not cheap , and since this is a “limited” release , Lagavulin could have been greedier, and ask for a higher price, given the pricing atmosphere we’re living in, but they decided to make it “fairly” priced. So, good on them for that.
This 8 year expression was bottled at 48% abv and was matured in refill European and American oak casks, and is priced around 50 quid.
Nose: sea breeze salt and moss along fruity notes of apple peel and a citrus note , mix nicely with wood smoke and pears. Young but not overly so. Fresh.
Palate: starts hot and spicy with chilly, pepper and soot , then getting smokier with wood smoke , tar and a nice bonfire , we’ve gotten to associate Lagavulin with, a bit of mezcal and toasted cereal , vanilla and a touch of tobacco, bitter with crushed voter beans
Finish: long , salty and getting very dry with hints of fruit, tar and ash.
This is a fine whisky, and although it’s relatively young, it’s feels quite mature, though it’s clearly more youthful the the run of the mill Lagavulins. It is tasty, indeed, but There’s something lacking at least for me. It’s not as complex as the 16, and I am missing the sherry influence I have become to love so much in Lagavulin (and also in young sherried IB Lagavulins). If you’re a die hard peat loving whisky drinker, who enjoys a dry, peated, yet fruity whisky – this one will surely tickle your fancy. Then there’s pricing : 50 quid is not a lot of money, but taking into consideration that the 16 year old which is an excellent whisky, costs LESS, VFM wise, and is a more complex and balanced whisky IMHO. I am quite the fan of Jack Wieber’s ‘classic of Islay
‘ which is probably a young sherried Lagavulin, and does cost less (and is bottled at CS), however that is not an OB (it’s not even officially Lagavulin).
If you’re a Lagavulin fan, you’ll want a bottle of that, probably for variation, since there are not many affordable Lagavulins out there to be had. If this how Diageo are starting the 200th Anniverary, we are in for a few treats for sure. Well done, guys anyways.
I know some people LOVED this, but I am more reserved. It’s a great dram, and impressive as it’s so young, but it’s not quite there in the 90’s i am afraid.
Israeli blog readers are probably wondering if this is going to hit the local market. I sure hope so, but it’s not certain. Let’s see how it goes. (hint, hint).