Lagavulin 26 Years Old Diageo Special Releases 2021 44.2% NV
|Serie||Diageo Special Releases 2021|
|Distilled date||Not Specified|
|Cask Type||First-Fill Pedro Ximenez/Oloroso seasoned|
|Condition||In Original Box|
The Lion's Jewel
Serge Valentin (88)
From 1st fill ex-PX and oloroso-seasoned casks. Who cares, this is Lagavulin. I haven't got all other details at time of writing but this should be mid-1990s distillation - the next best piece of news would be peace in the Middle-East. Colour: gold. Nose: remember the old 12 cream label? Or that 15 yo ceramic for Italy? This is sublime, once again, despite, or maybe thanks to a few whiffs of barbecued bacon at first, and despite a slightly, say prognathic oak spiciness (ginger and so on). All the rest is first class, the resins, essential oils, pine needles, camphor, banana skins, marzipan, whelks and clams, wee whiffs of garlic brine, some spearmint, old yellow chartreuse… And that old Lagavulin (and Port Ellen) thing, new tyres. Mouth: watch it, they say 44.2 but it almost feels like 64.2% vol., not something that happens too often. We shall add water but in the meantime, it is very salty and coastal, with a feeling of smoked raisins indeed, and perhaps a wee chaos created by the encounter between the PX and the spirit. The most important word is 'perhaps' here. With just two drops of water: a little leather, salt, salted toffee… Finish: long, more on cough syrup, ginger and burnt raisins. Comments: absolutely excellent but I think the stunning 12 killed this one a little bit and that the PX may have helped. Could be that we shouldn't have tried them both within the same wee tasting session, after all. Aren't self-evident ideas often bad ideas? Nah it's still a glorious dram.
Gal Granov (88)
Nose: Sweet and sherried (but not too much), with an abundance of sweet marinated smoked meats, Islay fishing boats (tarry rope, hessian), cooked ripe apples, gentle wood smoke and, which gives way to creme de menthe. The sherry influence of the Oloroso & PX denotes a lovely dried fruit background in the form of rich sultanas, figs,s, and ripe plums, sprinkled with wood spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, and cardamom. further nosing brings up dark cherries and hints of sweet smoke.
Palate: quite soft and approachable at under 45%, with more of the stewed red apples, cinnamon spice, and a touch of tar / TCP. the peat is very gentle, and the pepper adds to the smoky maple glazed bacon bits. I’m also getting a hint of pineapple in here… There’s not an awful lot of wood in there despite the 26 years of age, but the wood is there adding to the complexity, and I would have loved to get more of that old wood influence. oh well.
Finish: smoky bbq meats, and some grilled fruits, tar and peat and hints of smoke, distant campfires, and sweet wine, maybe black tea as well.
Conclusion: This is a very good whisky, but it’s not excellent IMHO. There’s a lot going on, but the sherry and sweet notes have overcome the wood too much, and for me, this is not the best old Lagavulin I’ve had so far. It’s a few levels below the 21 and 30, and although it’s definitely a bottle I would love to have on my shelf – It’s overpriced for what you are getting. A bit more wood, a little less sherry, and it would have been 90’s material. Also, a bit more oomph as in more abv would have added to the whole experience. Lagavulin fans with deep pockets and a knack for lion artwork should check this out.