We’re ending the week with a couple of drams from Lagavulin, including the newest Jazz festival release.
Lagavulin 7 Year Old Islay Jazz Festival 2022
The 2022 Lagavulin jazz festival release was matured in refill and ex-bourbon hogsheads. 2,490 bottles were made available.
On the nose there’s icing sugar, burnt toast, a hint of fresh mushroom and smouldering log fires. Giving it some air reveals croissants, dirt, earth and iodine. We were expecting more peat from this given the age, but it’s a touch restrained. We’re not getting any youthful spirit notes. Going back to it one last time we’re getting ginger and garam masala.
We’re initially hit with the smoke and dirt. It’s an ashy smoke which is followed by notes of thyme, and salted caramel. As it lingers on the tongue we're noticing notes of cloves, aniseed, chilli and cinnamon. Finally some salt and sweetness lingers along with chill heat on a good length finish. It’s got a decent oily mouthfeel. Going back we notice a touch of heat from alcohol and slight bitterness that reminds us of melted bournville chocolate. Air reveals lemon juice, and saline solution.
Nose (with water)
Water pushes the sweeter notes into the background allowing the smoke to shine. We’re noticing marshmallows, mango, and smoke that reminds us of a home made bonfire. There’s also iodine, crunchy peanut butter, and tarry rope.
Palate (with water)
Water has tamed the alcohol bite and brought this nicely into balance. Ginger vanilla syrup and barley sugars. Mouthfeel remains good, and the finish has more cracked black pepper spice. Speaking of the finish it remains long with the pepper mixing with the peat and sweeter notes. The bitter chocolate notes have also disappeared.
For the ABV it’s surprisingly easy drinking. Personally we prefer this with a few drops water added as it really brings the dram into balance. Our main issue with this... it's a 7yo and £95. If this was £60 we’d have given it an 8.5, but at this price we’re going with 8/10.
Lagavulin 8 was originally a limited-edition whisky put out by the distillery to promote its 200th anniversary. It’s now part of the core range.
We’re finding it quite briney and costal, with some TCP and vanilla essence. We were expecting more smoke from this. What’s here reminds us of burning wood. Going back we’re getting damp cardboard, seaweed, and mussels. There’s a hint of plastic, and along side it some breadsticks. Nothing on the nose is making it obvious this is a younger dram.
There's a hit of peat followed by some sweeter notes leading into a peat filled finish. It’s got a decent mouthfeel even at 48%. We’re getting some saline solution, marzipan, earth, and burnt wood. Air reveals sweet caramel syrup on vanilla ice cream topped with whipped cream. We think they’ve chosen a good ABV for this as we’re getting just the right amount of alcohol bite.
Nose (with water)
Reduction brings out buttered toast, and oak. The burning wood has turned into charred wood. Going back to it and there’s a savouriness along with some thyme and basil fresh from the garden.
Palate (with water)
A few drops of water really makes the smoke and dirt pop on the palate. The trade off is it’s a little less sweet now. It’s also saltier with a note of cumin having appeared. There’s also a little less peat on a still good length finish. The mouthfeel has held up relatively well, but it has diminished slightly.
Personally we wouldn’t add water to this, but if you do you’ll find it holds up reasonably well to a few drops. For the price it’s a great dram for any peat lovers, and is an easy 8/10. However we will say that for the price you can get a bottle of Ardbeg Uigeadail which is a notch above this.
- 10 - Perfection. A whisky that we’ll remember forever.
- 9 - Amazing. We’d pay through the nose for a bottle.
- 8 - Great. Pick this up at RRP.
- 7 - Good. Happy to have a dram or two but wouldn’t buy a bottle.
- 6 - Passable. Would accept a dram, but wouldn’t seek it out.
- 5 - Poor. Would drink if it was the only option.
- 4 - Bad. Maybe it can be saved by ginger beer?
- 3 - Awful. It can't be saved by ginger beer.
- 2 - Pour it out
- 1 - We’ve never tried a whisky rated this low and hopefully never will.
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