It’s been a good couple of years for anniversaries along the Kildalton coast of Islay with two celebrated last year, while 2016 sees Lagavulin join the party.
Lagavulin, the word rolls off the tongue and just conjures this expectation, this anticipation that you’re about to sample something special. This distillery holds a soft spot in my heart; when I visited Islay in 2010 Lagavulin was the first distillery I went to, the first tour I did, and the first warehouse tasting I experienced. It was also the first Feis bottle I bought and drank with friends. Since then I’ve had many a good memory of the distillery, the whisky it produces and the people who work there. I guess that’s why I’m quite excited about this release! So without further ado, here’s our review. Enjoy.
Lagavulin 8YO – 200th Anniversary Edition [48%]
I remember sitting in the Lagavulin warehouse in 2010 and enjoying a younger Lagavulin. It was either 7 or 8 years old and was one of the drams of the festival. We questioned at the time why Lagavulin don’t release younger whisky and we were told it was unlikely to ever happen. Well it seems like the 200th anniversary of the distillery was the excuse they needed. I’m delighted to say that this whisky doesn’t disappoint. To me it is a purer form of Lagavulin, I love this spirit without too much sherry influence and this 8 year old is like a dialled down Special Release. It is almost certainly the first of several releases to celebrate the bi-centenary, but it is well priced, has lots of flavour and would make a great addition to your drinking shelf
Nose: Bags of citrus peel up front. Becomes darker with hints of cocoa powder and burnt lemon. There is a good amount of soot and wood embers that adds a lovely depth to the dram. We also found homemade chocolate beetroot cake. Takes me right back to warehouse tastings with Pinkie.
Palate: Initially light with sherbet lemons. Spicy rather than the expected peat on the first taste, cinnamon and liquorice dominated. The smoke comes in later as a wisp moving through the liquid and brings with it some black pepper heat. Quite creamy and vegetative.
Finish: Build and builds, lemon juice