Blind Tasting Competition 17: Lagavulin 19yo, 1995-2014, 54.7% – Feis Ile 2014

Yesterday I missed out on the idea of points, which was a strangely calm experience, and rather satisfactory. At least I didn’t screw up as massively as before.

Today is the penultimate dram of this year’s competition and I only got around to it in the nick of time. At the moment of filling in the results my WiFi broke and the website to do stuff on is not very responsive on mobile (there is no way of getting to the ‘score’ drop down, for example). So I barely managed to fill in something on my phone to try and stop my free fall towards the bottom of the rankings.

Lagavulin Feis Ile 2014. Image from Whiskybase

Lagavulin Feis Ile 2014. Image from Whiskybase

Sniff:
There’s salty peat. The good kind. It’s lovely with some really sharp grassy notes. There’s also a hint of pastry cream and milk.

The oak is rather faint, but certainly present. The fun thing is that the scent is sharp but not because of the alcohol. At least, not on the nose.

Sip:
The palate has a bit of power to it, but the whisky itself is very light. Again the slightly thin milky note, with some tiny vanilla and salt behind it. The alcohol is present and there’s some dry oak too. With wood shavings.

Swallow:
The finish is really smoky. The smoke was there before but not as prominent. Here the grassy and floral notes are here too, but it’s all gentle.

It’s not overly long but I have the feeling it comes with some age.

It feels like this is an old Caol Ila. I think it’s at cask strength, but at some age it mellows and this feels like it makes sense. It reminds me of some early 80s Caol Ilas I had last year and the timidness of the smoke points me in that direction.

In the end I guessed it was the 1982 Caol Ila bottled for the 500th bottling of The Ultimate. That seems like something Ewald could pick as ‘the expensive one’ in the competition.

It turns out to be the 2014 Feis Ile bottling of Lagavulin. Which hugely surprised me since I generally don’t get those milky notes in Lagavulin, and there’s more weight to their spirit generally. By a look at the results I can say that this came as a surprise to everyone, since nobody got this one right, and I think most participants have at least tasted this whisky in the last couple of months.

I am really curious to sit down for this one again from my own bottle at some point. I have the feeling that sampling this has caused some weird effect on the whisky and I know some others feel the same way about it.

Still, it was already a delicious dram, just one I didn’t expect to be in there and the palate took me to the different side of Islay. At least I got some points for ABV and region! That’s something!

Lagavulin 19yo, 1995-2014, 54.7%, Feis Ile 2014

About Sjoerd de Haan-Kramer

I'm a web developer at Emakina. I'm highly interested in booze, with a focus on whisk(e)y. I like to listen to loads of music and read quite some books. I'm married to Anneke, have a daughter Ot, a son Moos and a cat called Kikker (which means Frog, in Dutch). I live in Krommenie, The Netherlands.
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One Response to Blind Tasting Competition 17: Lagavulin 19yo, 1995-2014, 54.7% – Feis Ile 2014

  1. Pingback: Wrapping up the Blind Tasting Competition of 2014 | Malt Fascination

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