Lagavulin 21 Years Old for European Lagavulin Fans (WhiskyNerds) Cask 0001 56.6% 1997
|Bottled for||European Lagavulin Fans (WhiskyNerds) Boris, Floris, Bram, Sebastian, Ronny, Rolf|
|Cask Type||European oak|
|Condition||In original Container|
Serge Valentin (91)
I feel there are probably more than 158 Lagavulin fans in Europe. And so long as Britain remains a member of the EU I count myself as one of them. One of an increasing number of private casks that Diageo are doing these days - unsurprisingly they chose European oak for this release. Colour: deep gold. Nose: soft embrocations, drifting bonfire smoke, coal dust, dried kelp, mechanical oils and toasted black peppercorns. The peat feels slightly restrained, as if it’s caught on the verge of morphing into all these other tertiary aspects such as tar, mead, old rope and antiseptic. Evolves rather beautifully towards a kind of earthy/medical/smoky profile over time. Slightly reminiscent of some older White Horse 12 year olds at points. With water: drifts more towards boot polish, hickory smoke, struck flints and some smoke-cured meats. Mouth: very peppery, sooty and displaying a kind of fruity chilli heat. Smoked paprika, iodine, germoline and wood ash. There’s a BBQ sauce aspect as well. I like it but there’s also a rawness to it as well which I wasn’t expecting. Hints of burnt caramel, artichoke, olive oil and grilling sardines. With water: ahh, much sweeter and oilier now with water. Lemon cough medicine, more natural tar notes, oily peats and some herbal extracts that lean towards liqueurish. Hessian and various medical tinctures. Finish: long, leafy, smoky, earthy and full of salty notes such as miso, soy sauce and anchovy paste. Some oily lemony notes as well. Comments: At times it’s a little tough, but if you work with it and give it the benefit of time and a little water it really does reward. What can I say? Another very excellent Lagavulin. Damn those lucky Europeans! Just you wait till we are eating re-hydrated mashed potatoes and Boris Johnson is in charge, then we’ll show you...!
Gal Granov (93)
I don’t know four of the six people mentioned in the title, but the other two (Bram and Floris) are the guys behind WhiskyNerds, and fellow Usquebaugh Society club members. What I also know is that they’ve bottled some amazing casks in the past, with me having fond memories of their GlenDronach, Springbank and Inchmurrins (obviously, I’m forgetting some, but so be it).
They sent me a sample of this for reviewing a week or two ago, and I finally had the time and attention to give it what it deserves: an hour or quiet, in which to properly assess this whisky, instead of scribbling down some quick notes.
I’m not going into too much else for Lagavulin, the brand is well known to and loved by many whisky drinkers. I spent a morning there in April in which we did an amazing tasting with Iain ‘Pinkie’ McArthur. Highly recommended if you randomly find yourself on the Queen of the Hebrides.
Oily and diesel-like. Lots of thick, engine smoke. Rosemary, thyme and acorns. Pine needles and wood. Some salinity and coastal scents, like washed up wood drying in the sun.
The palate is less sharp and smoother than I expected. Syrupy sweetness, with some pepper, lots of oak and acorns. Herbaceous with thyme sprigs and a bitter hint of twigs. Some salinity and iodine flavors too, with more drying oak.
In the finish, the diesel like smoke starts coming through before it becomes a lot more smooth. It’s a bit fresher and more crisp than before. Still heavy, it’s Lagavulin after all, but more like a windy walk on the beach than earlier.
Apart from the price of a bottle, this is an amazing whisky. Absolutely stunning and quite likely to become my whisky of the year (I’ve not tried that supposedly awesome Adelphi Mortlach yet).
I love that it’s so light on the sweetness and doesn’t show the typical fruits that come with more generic Lagavulin (the tea and oranges kind). It represents the surrounding area of Lagavulin, with coastal notes and the rocky, grassy shoreline.
Words Of Whisky:
Next-level whisky from a next-level distillery.
Somewhat vegetal, but also hints of licorice, smoked sausage and fried bacon, followed by damp old wood and subtle wood smoke. The soft citrus notes are wonderful, with zesty orange taking the crown. It even has a light floral touch. Finally, there's also a slight farminess. Lovely well-integrated and complex. Stunning!
A salty en pepper-y arrival, with subtle notes of charcoal and vegetal peat, as well as burlap. There's definitely smoked paprika powder in here, as well as some beef jerky and charred meat.
Lingering bonfire smoke with a nice salinity.