Lagavulin

Lagavulin 8 Years Old 200th Anniversary Limited Edition (48%, OB, 2016)

Lagavulin 8 Years Old 200th Anniversary Limited Edition

Whisky review

  • ABV: 48%
  • Age: 8 Years Old
  • Bottling: OB
  • Category: Islay single malt scotch whisky
  • Cost: £51.95
  • Origin: Lagavulin Distillery
  • Vintage: Undeclared

lagavulin-8-year-old-200th-anniversary-edition-whisky

What they say

“Exceptionally fine” was how illustrious whisky chronicler, Alfred Barnard, described the Lagavulin 8 TYear Old expression he sampled during an 1886 visit to the distillery.

In homage to Lagavulin’s timeless ability to produce exceptional malts, and in celebration of the distillery’s 200th anniversary, this is a reinterpretation of the 8 year old from Barnard’s era: available for one year only.

Official tasting notes:

  • The nose is immediately soft with clean, fresh notes partnering faint hints of milk chocolate and lemon, then develops fragrant tea-scented smoke alongside nose-drying, maritime aromas, with subtle cereal.
  • The palate is light in texture, with a magnificently full-on Lagavulin taste that’s even bigger than you may expect; sweet, smoky and warming, with a growing pungency, then dry, with more smoke.
  • The finish is lovely: clean, very long and smoky. This is a polished and exquisitely crafted celebration of Lagavulin with smoky-clean aromas and a mighty taste. Made to mark our bicentenary, it’s a whisky to celebrate, in every sense.

What I say

Released as a special Limited Edition in 2016 to celebrate Lagavulin’s 200th anniversary, this edition was so well received it was soon announced that an 8 year old expression would continue. However, following the recent release of the Game of Throne House Lannister 9 year old expression rumours abound that the 8 year old expression is soon to be discontinued? This reinterpretation is constructed from refill American oak casks, unlikely to bear any resemblance to what Barnard tasted, as he visited around 40 years before these started being adopted into Scotch whisky maturation.

My tasting notes:

  • Appearance: Light champagne gold (3/20), medium tears and medium legs.
  • Nose: Much sweeter than the 9yo GOT expression and with a distinct lemony fresh/lemon pledge note from the outset, some putty/playdough adds a little salty aroma to the sweetness, the smoke is a little harsher on the nostrils and comes with bbq’d green coconut and green banana and toasted marshmallows, a hint of peanut brittle also.
  • Taste: Light mixed citrus fruits, zest and salt, more overly-sweet peanut brittle, vanilla fudge, white pepper and white oak, tarry/oily smoke and only the faintest hints of coal dust, earthy and vegetal.
  • Finish: Long, thin sweetness battles with a sour/bitter edge leftover from the smoke influences, occasionally presents as salty/smoky milk chocolate.

Overall

It has taken me some time to finally get on board with this expression. I wouldn’t say I was disappointed but whenever I sat to formulate some notes I seem to get stuck after the nose and hard to ascribe anything in particular. Perhaps sampling this side-by-side with the 9yo GOT edition really highlighted the differences. There is a freshness in here quite unlike anything else I have sampled from Lagavulin, perhaps it is New Make (I have some somewhere to test this theory) or I am more inclined to think it is the result of underactive (3rd/4th fill casks)?

Score 85/100

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