A couple years back, while vacationing and touring distilleries on Islay, I happened to luck into one of those wee windows where there just happened to be a couple of rare little treats available exclusively through some of the distilleries’ shops.
Both of the active Diageo distilleries on the island, Caol Ila and Lagavulin, happened to have nifty limited run treats for those who ventured to these beautiful Hebridean shores.
As you can imagine, in this day and age where there seems to be a premium levied on all things Islay, these extremely limited releases never last long on the shelves. I instantly fell in love with the Lagavulin release, but was slightly underwhelmed by the Caol Ila. Needless to say, my suitcase was one bottle of Lag heavier when I came back to Canada. In retrospect I wish I had nabbed two or three.
I haven’t met a soul who has tried this one that hasn’t adored it. This is Lagavulin with both class and ooomph. Awesome stuff.
Nose: Damn, is this assertive. Vinegar and iodine. Farmy with a gorgeous peat reek. Sherry notes. BBQish. Spicy tobacco…a la strong cigar. Cherry.
Palate: Smoke. Strongly peaty and medicinal. Fruit notes wafting through the curtain of smoke. Little hint of mint over lamb. Sharp wet tarry notes meet a thick syrupy sherry sweetness.
There’s some age here. How old? Who knows. I’m thinking though, that has might be a couple years on from the standard 16 year old flagship. There is a beautiful harmony and complexity in the meld of peat and sweet (apparently PX).
Still haven’t cracked this bottle yet. One day the right occasion will call. Those fortunate enough to be around at that point will be tasked with helping me lay this Lagavulin to rest. And it will be a good day.
-Reviewed by: Curt