One of the many benefits of being within (reasonable) travel distance to the whisky regions gives us the opportunities to pick up distillery exclusive releases. Earlier this year, we took a short trip to Islay and picked up this slightly older Lagavulin distillery exclusive.
Lagavulin Distillery Exclusive 2018
This is non age statement Lagavulin that was matured in 1st fill bourbon cask and recharrred American oak casks. 6,000 bottles were made available at the distillery shop and for anyone planning to make the trip there are still some available to buy.
The nose open with notes of dirty water, bonfire smoke, ash, tobacco and burnt oranges. Air reveals more sweetness from the casks in the form of crème caramel, lemon juice and red grapes. As we go back to we notice there’s a nice herbal note of lavender and thyme pulling through but they’re sitting far in the background.
It’s like eating a mouthful of soot, it's very earthy, but there is also a meatiness here that makes us think we’re eating streaky bacon that’s been rolled in soil and cooked on the BBQ. Going back and there’s a sweet note pulling through that's similar to maple syrup. There’s also light clove and aniseed notes. It’s got a good length finish with both the peat and sweeter notes lingering. Going back to it one last time and we notice a nice saltiness, and a little chocolate. It has a good mouthfeel with good alcohol integration.
Nose (with water)
We’re now getting charred wood, and more of the lemon juice on the nose. There’s something savoury sitting in the background that we’re struggling to identify. The smoke has survived the addition of water, and we’re getting lots of earthiness, dirt and a musty warehouse like note. Finally, we’re getting some brown sugar, and iodine.
Palate (with water)
There’s now less smoke and dirt. The water has also thinned the mouth feel and reduced the alcohol bite, but the alcohol was well integrated before dilution. There’s slightly more bitterness coming through like roasted coffee beans. It’s also a touch spicer. Personally, we’d not add anything. Finish remains a good length. The mouthfeel also remains good.
We’re always suspicious when we see NAS Lagavulins, but this one delivered something enjoyable and easy drinking. We’ll easy drinking if you enjoy peat. Its not overall complex, but very quaffable and hits the spot for anyone looking for dirty peat with a nice hit of sweetness. We’re picking up another bottle from the distillery next time we’re there
If you're based in the UK and want to try a dram of this, we've still got a few available on our dram club.
- 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.
Interested in trying drams like these? We've created the Two Whisky Bros Dram Club to help you get access to high quality, rare whisky by the dram.