Distillery/Brand: Lagavulin | Region: Islay | ABV: 48% | Colour: Chardonnay
Nose: 8.2 | Palate: 8.4 | Finish: 8.0 | Score: 8.2
It was raining when we landed in Islay. Cold and persistent. It was a day before the whisky festival was about to start and things were looking damp.
When you live in a place like Dubai where they actually have to fire water pellets into clouds to get some rain, believe me, weather like this is like dying and going to heaven. Only problem was we had a number of outdoor activities planned for the week and rain was going to be a problem if it persisted.
But as luck would have it the rain stopped the next morning, the clouds opened up and the sun shone like it had never before for the rest of the week. But that’s a story for another day.
After checking into the Port Askaig Hotel (our first stop) we freshened up in our rooms (Mull & Rum – don’t ask me why) and headed down to the Old Port Bar for a bit of food and, of course, some whisky.
After being greeted warmly by the bar staff we settled in our seats and chose, instead, to start the evening with an Islay Ale. I quite like Saligo which is a sweet and rather mild beer. Much more to my liking compared to the darker ones. Besides I didn’t want to ruin my palate too much. I had the Lagavulin 8 looking back at me from across the bar.
I’m a huge fan of Lagavulin and I’m pretty sure I have yet to taste something from them that I don’t like. I may like some less than others but if there’s a distillery that’s got it’s craft down to the proverbial T it’s this one.
And what’s more they are unafraid. It’s 8 years old, the label screams. And there’s a reason for that you snobby bastard.
Alfred Barnard, the famous brewing and distilling historian from Britain, undertook an epic journey across Ireland, England & Scotland researching for his famous book ‘The Whisky Distilleries of the United Kingdom’.
It was at Lagavulin or Lagganmhouillin, as I like to call it, that he tried an ‘exceptionally fine’ eight-year-old from the distillery. And it is to commemorate this event that the spirit inside this bottle is of this particular age.
My sample is from an open bottle and served at 48%
Nose: Soft. Smokey peat. Quite a bit of salt. Fishnets. Kelp. White pepper. Lemon rind. Lime. Cardamom seeds. Brine. Hint of aniseed. Touch of green herbs. Sugarcane juice. That lovely Islay grist. This is quite a wonderfully sooty nose. Lots of spent ash. Quite typically Lagavulin with a feistiness that I love. 8.2
Palate: White pepper pin pricks. Then the sugars crumble beautifully. Toasted barley. Not very very sweet. Lots of soot and ash. Limoncello. Dry ginger. This is so nice and complex. 8.4
Finish: Nice and satisfying. Drying. Touch of spice. 8.0
Overall Comments: This is such a solid whisky, I tell you. Really liked everything about it. The fact that it’s young and sprightly and carries this much flavour really works for me. It’s very reasonably priced on top of that. So all in all a great start to the trip. Despite the rain.