Lagavulin 22 yo ‘Islay Jazz Festival’ 2020

I am a big Jazz fan, as you might know, and sadly I’ve never been able to be on Islay for the annual Jazz Fest – combining my two loves. This year’s with COVID-19, the Festival was moved to an Online format, but a special edition is still being sold at the distillery visitor center. Lagavulin Jazz 2020 retails for £405 per 70cl, bottled at 52.6% ABV with just 2004 bottles available. The whisky is Matured in refill American and European Oak top-dressed by active casks, some of them wine seasoned… 

Anyways, I was not able to be on Islay for the fest (or any fest this year) but I am very thankful to have been sent a sample of this rare whisky. Let’s taste some.

Lagavulin Jazz Festival Edition 2020, 22 yo , 52.6%.,£405

Nose: Classic Lagavulin wood smoke here, in addition to some paraffine lamps on top of sweet dried fruit that goes well with the peat smoke, vanilla, and earthy notes. There are also some toffee notes, with a hint of ripe blood orange, some stewed apples, moss, and marinated smoked meats with a tarry hint as well. very nice, very complex, and certainly Lagavulin.
Palate: Big and bold, mouthcoating and spicy (chili) – there are quite some wine tannins on the palate immediately after the first sip, with the peat smoke hovering above of course… More of the mossy, damp notes we’ve seen on the nose, in addition to soot and charcoal, with a sprinkle of cinnamon powder. More time reveals dried fruit and more of the ripe orange marmalade, and distant black pepper, and a drying end.

Finish: very long, the smoke and sweet fruit linger forever, it’s now more on the dried fruit: Sultana, fig, date and more of the orange marmalade keeping it all together, even some smoky chocolate, and more wood spices and quite some ash, soot, and coals. the smoke goes on and goes on… very nice!

Conclusion: A brilliant 22-year-old Lagavulin with classic Laga features in addition to dried fruit, and lots of ripe orange marmalade. I like that a lot. Excellent stuff, that comes at a price. I am not going to say 400 quid is not a hefty sum. But if you’ve got deep pockets, you’re in for major fun. Recommended!

You can find some online and at auctions…

Score: 91/100

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