Review: Lagavulin 18 Years Old 2016 Feis Ile
Category: Islay single malt scotch whisky
Origin: Lagavulin Distillery
Cost: £125 from Lagavulin Distillery [sold out]
What they say:
The Lagavulin Festival bottling comes from a blend of refill American Oak and ex Bodega European Oak casks. Bottled at cask strength, it will be a limited edition run of 6,000 bottles. RRP £125.
Georgie Crawford’s tasting notes in brief: Rose gold in colour, the Lagavulin 18 Year Old has an initially shy nose which opens up to offer complex rich, spicy notes with a nod to marzipan, dark dried fruits and star anise. Lovely fresh notes from the American oak and some menthol nose tickle. The taste is sharp but sweet, a subtle tannin background with a lovely long lasting finish. Slight saltiness gives way to a gentle roll of smoke across the tongue. Hints of soft fruits and plain chocolate balanced with rich wood character.
What I say:
Bottled by Lagavulin for Feis Ile 2016. This was Dram #5 from Moxie’s Festivus for the rest of us #2 (2016 edition). A rare chance for those unable to make either the Campbeltown Malts Festival or Feis Ile (Islay Festival of Malt & Music) to sample some of the bottlings that were exclusively on offer.
Light amber gold (8/20), oily/viscous, slow, small tears leave fine legs
Dried spices and fruits, prunes and raisins, a little plum and bramble jam, a mixture of powdered cinnamon, clove and nutmeg, slightly cloying sweetness as dried fruit gives way to vanilla essence and aniseed, though there is a nice caramel/toffee sweetness present too, hints of cocoa powder
Rich dark treacle and viscous on the palate, hints of spice and peat smoke burst out, dark chocolate-coated cinder toffee, plenty of tannic oak wood, bbq banana with melted dark chocolate buttons, malted cereal barley and malt extract, smoked treacle, tarry rope/hessian, spiced black & sichuan pepper, liquorice sticks and salted caramel
Long, sooty peat smoke, spiced and tannic wood, treacle toffee
Power and complexity rule here, another dram that is more than the sum of its parts, plenty of (for me) slightly dangerous territory such as pepper and liquorice but such a heavyweight of dark oak wood and malt, spices and rich fruit that it holds together nicely. More refined than the 16 Years Old – yes, less ‘shouty’ than the PX distiller’s edition – definitely. This Lagavulin is a boxing glove wrapped in a smoking jacket.
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