Google Tasting new Lagavulin 8 and indie NAS

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

March 11, 2016


Tasting new Lagavulin 8 and indie NAS

There’s this new official 8 yo that’s been bottled to celebrate the Distillery’s 200th anniversary, but while we’re having it on the tasting desk, I’m wondering which opponent we should select. The wisest choice would probably be the popular 16 yo, but we’ve tried it again very recently, and we can’t taste it again each and every week, can we (of course you could, says the little devil on my shoulder). Why not a ‘probably very young’ indie quasi-Lagavulin? How does that sound?

Laggan Mill (46%, Cooper's Choice, refill butt, cask #310547, 870 bottles)

Laggan Mill (46%, Cooper's Choice, refill butt, cask #310547, 870 bottles, 2015) Three stars and a half Isn’t it funny that while the distillery’s owners went for an age statement instead of going NAS with the new ‘bicentenary’, some indies are now doing just the opposite? And it’s always a little weird to have a cask number, and no age or vintage. But anyway, is this well a Lagavulin? Let’s see if we can find some organoleptical clues… Colour: very pale white wine. So, very young indeed. Nose: well, last time this butt has seen sherry, that wasn’t in this century IMHO. Which isn’t obligatorily bad news. This baby’s quite strident, sharp, and very coastal, with plenty of sea spray, kelp, iodine and oysters, then a little wet wool, damp newspapers, and the faintest whiffs of crushed mint leaves. Perhaps a little bone-dry sauvignon blanc? Perhaps… Mouth: ah yes! Starts with this trademark sweet fruitiness (pear bonbons) and probably other sweet parts that aren’t quite to be found in older L*******ns (tinned peaches, for example, ala Ardmore), and goes on with what we could call ‘sweet peat’. It’s not impossible that the sherry butt still had something to say. Gets then bitterer, more herbal, and very ashy. Eating grass (during a rugby game ;-)). Finish: long, grassy, and quite bitter, but there’s a syrupy/sweet side that remains there, and that’s a little less to my liking. Loses points. Bitter almonds in the aftertaste – many of them. Comments: some sweet twists and turns, possibly because of the cask, but other than that, this one fights you. Perhaps not always plainly coherent? A handful of points have been lost during the finish. SGP:467 - 84 points.

Lagavulin 8 yo (48%, OB, 200th Anniversary, 2016)

Lagavulin 8 yo (48%, OB, 200th Anniversary, 2016) Five stars I think it’s very smart that whilst the whisky’s quite young, they have decided to disclose its age, and to go ‘transparent’. That’s true modern luxury if you ask me (relation plus story plus DETAILS), while other, ach, erm, brands are issuing innumerable new NAS bottlings with only stories these days, and are really starting to blur their image and reputation (which are tomorrow’s sales, remember). As always, my humble opinion, and after all, we’re here for the whisky. So… Colour: white wine. Nose: precision, that’s the first word that springs to mind. Bandages, cane juice, hay, and marzipan, then seaweed, oysters, and diesel oil, then ink, mezcal, grist, and wet wool. Plus one blueberry. Mouth: this is where it kills the IB. This is much better chiselled, purer, better focused, much more distillate-driven, and sharp. And it’s very ashy, sooty, smoky, you’d almost believe you just ate the ashtray. It surprises me a bit that they didn’t decide on a rounder and sweeter style, but for obvious reasons, I won’t complain. Love this style! It’s actually very dry. Also fresh walnuts. Salted fresh walnuts. Strength and body are perfect. Finish: long and austere, on pretty much the same flavours, but drops of orange juice are playing it a little sexier in the aftertaste. Perhaps a little ginger tonic? Comments: it’s really the words purity and precision that rule here, there’s no make-up, no Botox, no dye, and no silicone. Some pure, totally crystalline Lagavulinity (what?) that makes you want to take the next flight(s) to Islay and to go kiss the Distillery Manager on both cheeks. Huge quality/age ratio. Happy 200th, Lagavulin! SGP:358 - 90 points.

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







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