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Hi, this is one of our (almost) daily tastings. Santé!

September 24, 2013


Bang bang bang, three Lagavulin

The brand new official 37 years old hasn't reached WF's shores yet, so to pass the time (so to speak) let's have younger Lagavulins today, both independent and official.

Lagavulin 1995/2013 'Islay Jazz Festival' (51.9%, OB, sherry butts)

Lagavulin 1995/2013 'Islay Jazz Festival' (51.9%, OB, sherry butts) Five stars Last year's 1997 was wonderful (WF 91) but this one's a larger batch. And so jazz isn't dead yet, great news!... (of course it's not dead, and neither does it smell funny, dear Frank.) Colour: gold. No extreme first fill ala 21yo. Nose: the first impression is that of Lagavulin 16, only at cask strength. It's just the same kind of feeling, with some sweetness, natural latex, farmyard, tobacco, orange zests and dried kelp. Whoops, almost forgot peat smoke. It's rather more civilised than earlier official small ex-sherry batches, I'd say, with much less bacon or gunpowder. With water: I think I'm ,as I good as the people at Diageo as I think I managed to replicate the 16yo. Good water and a pipette, that's all it takes! Mouth (neat): purrrfekkkt. Chiselled Lagavulin (the kind that cuts through you like a surgical knife) with a layer of tobacco, Seville oranges and leather. Less extreme than earlier batches but maybe (even) better balanced. More drinkable for sure. With water: swims like Mark Spitz. Perfect balance, peat smoke, oranges, cardamom, kippers and just one or two raisins. Tiny ones. Finish: very long and it never becomes acrid or tannic. Funny 'ideas' of litchis in he aftertaste. Comments: big yet lighter than others. Easier for sure and wonderful for sure. When Lagavulin's that easy, it becomes lethal. So a bottle to lock away. SGP:458 - 92 points.

Jack's Pirate Whisky 10 yo (57.8%, Jack Wieber, cask #4627, 299 bottles, 2008)

Jack's Pirate Whisky 10 yo (57.8%, Jack Wiebers, cask #4627, 299 bottles, 2008) Five stars This should be Lagavulin. Colour: white wine. Nose: very classy, much earthier and rootier than the official. A walk on the beach, gentian, seaweed, damp earth and cut grass, a little cane sugar, sea breeze, oysters, agaves, broken branches, bonfire, a little antiseptic... Aw, what a classy naked spirit! With water: same direction. Lovable nakedness. Mouth (neat): extremely chiselled, sharp, almost violent, developing on a combination of limejuice and lapsang-souchong. Huge peat, ashes, smoke, kippers. Massive whisky. With water: brine and ashes. Let's keep this short, because it's no complex whisky, and yet it's perfect. Finish: long, extremely concise and very right. Citrusy aftertaste. Comments: it's very different from the new OB, but we're within the same family. A blade, 100% spirit-driven. And what a spirit. SGP:448 - 92 points.

Lagavulin 15 yo (58.2%, The Syndicate, +/-1995?)

Lagavulin 15 yo (58.2%, The Syndicate, +/-1995?) Five stars Not too sure when that baby was bottled but according to some knowledgeable sources, it's a 1979. I think Muray McDavid were behind this series. Colour: white wine. Nose: this is something else and frankly, it smells older than 15. It's more evolved, with more herbs, for example. There's some very obvious caraway right at first nosing, then rubbed orange and grapefruit zests, some menthol and aniseed, maybe fennel, then more sooty/smoky smells. Engine oil, old garage... There's also quite a lot of cloves and juniper berries. Wonderfully different. With water: became narrower, but beautifully so. Beaches and farmyards - like. Mouth (neat): this must be older than 15! Fabulously phenolic, did they add Motul or Veedol? Forgotten Lapsang Souchong (I mean forgotten in the teapot), grapefruit juice and then a growing coastal saltiness. Kippers for sure, maybe also salted anchovies. Implacable. With water: amazing old-style Islay. A grand cru of whisky, enough said. Finish: long, with some marzipan and barley sugar. A feeling of fresh putty or plasticine, always great news in this context. Comments: a stunning bottle but please note that not all the Lagas by the Syndicate are of similar greatness. SGP:447 - 94 points.

(with big thanks to Angus and Tomislav)

More tasting notes Check the index of all Lagavulin I've tasted so far







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