This is a 24 year Lagavulin that was bottled for Feis Ile 2015. It was triple matured in bourbon casks, PX sherry butts, and finally in old puncheons. It was bottled at 59.9% ABV.
Nose: Lots of oak tannins with vanilla, caramel, blackberry coulis, mild peat, and stewed fruits. Peat has mellowed enough with age to let those delicate fruit notes really shine alongside it.
Palate: Apricot and blackberry notes tucked beneath folds of mild peat, oak is much more striking here and turns into a bit of butterscotch.
Finish: Buttery malt with caramel, and perfect balance of peat.
Rating: 92/100 – One of the best Lagavulins I’ve had – truly enjoyable.
Value for the money: These have been going around €500 or so at auction, and I’m not sure I’d buy one at that price. If this were available at retail, I’d be comfortable paying $300-400.
This is a Lagavulin bottled for the 2015 Jazz Festival. It’s NAS, matured in refill American and refill European oak, and bottled at 55.4% ABV.
Nose: Fresh peat takes over the nose right off the bat before a bright citrus/lemon juice note pierces through. As it sits, subtle banana, honey, golden raisins, and some vanilla emerge.
Palate: Very viscousy – young, powerful peat takes the lead as it turns a bit ashy. Some bitter cocoa, heavy smoke, and a hint of flowery notes develop.
Finish: Strong peat/smoke linger for a long time.
Rating: 89/100 – A semi-bruiser in terms of peat levels, but it still maintains a nice balance with some of those other notes – really enjoyed the subtle raisins/vanilla in the nose to break up some of the smoke.
Value for the money: These can be found for £200+ and at that price, it’s not too bad of a buy.
This is the 2013 Lagavulin Feis Ile expression which was an 18 year sherry-matured expression bottled at 51% ABV.
Nose: Fairly closed off – delicate smoke with mild peat, dark chocolate, subtle figs and blackberries.
Palate: Sherry notes pull out front with plums and berries, mild peat and oak to back it up alongside a drop of vanilla. Still quite mild surprisingly.
Finish: Mostly sweet sherry notes lingering with a bit of oak and peat.
Rating: 82/100 – All the notes were there that I normally love in a sherried peated dram, but it’s like someone dialed the intensity knob down several notches. Not sure if it’s the low proof or what, but it’s a shame as I could tell there was a great foundation there.
Value for the money: These are spotty online, but looks like they’re going around €300 at auction in recent months, and I would pass at that price.
This is an 8 year Lagavulin OB released as part of its 200th Anniversary and bottled at 48% ABV.
Nose: Bold peat with loads of smoke, a bit of turpentine, new leather, tar, and burnt hamburger bits.
Palate: Very pungent peat with vegetal notes alongside burnt bacon and tarry malt wrapped in a shroud of smoke.
Finish: Tobacco smoke and peat last on for some time.
Rating: 86/100 – The first Lagavulin I’ve had under 12 years old, and the balance wasn’t fully there for me. For some reason, it seems only some peated malts can do <10 year expressions well (primarily Ledaig in my experience).
Value for the money: These retail around $60 which is a surprisingly reasonable price. I could nitpick and say it should be closer to $45-$50, but close enough in my book.
This is the 2013 edition of the annual Distiller’s Edition from Lagavulin. It’s a 16 year Lagavulin finished in a PX cask and bottled at 43% ABV.
Nose: Peat smoke with blackberry jam, currants, and other dark fruits swirling around french oak. Slight medicinal note but sweet overall.
Palate: Again peat surrounded by very sweet malt. Slight coriander notes with dark fruits – PX influence is very noticeable.
Finish: Long finish with peat, oak, and brine.
Rating: 92/100 – Love the PX influence – sometimes these finishes on peated whiskies seem more of a marketing gimmick.
Value for the money: These retail for around $100-$120 which I’d be happy to pay.