A while ago I reviewed the older ‘FotCM’ edition of Lagavulin and I quite liked that one. It was a twelve year old from fresh sherry casks which made it quite a heavy dram and also rather different from the normal editions.
Normally Lagavulin has their 16 year old, which is a mix of sherry and bourbon casks. The annual 12 year old which are always bourbon casks, and the Distiller’s Edition, which is from PX casks, but is also about sixteen years old.
So, also, normally, I get rather excited when a new and affordable Lagavulin shows up. The 21 year old from a few years ago and last year’s 37 year old I skipped. Both of them were vastly out of my league, at some € 400 and € 2500 respectively. I did get to try that Lagavulin 21, but I wasn’t that enthusiastic about it anyway. At least not compared to the 2007 release of it.
Then this one came along. Somehow Diageo stopped marketing their Friends of the Classic Malts releases. They still do them occasionally, but without much fanfare. There’s been a new Talisker and this Lagavulin, but I didn’t know about them until the fact was done, while with earlier releases they were announced quite some time ahead.
This one then. It’s a NAS whisky, while before they were all with an age statement, except maybe that last Talisker, I don’t know. It’s again bottled at 48%, like the previous release, but this one is ‘triple matured’. That means that they’ve used three different cask types: refill casks, American oak hogsheads and refill European oak. From my perspective, as a cynic, this doesn’t mean anything:
- The American oak can also be refilled.
- The refill casks aren’t specified.
- The European oak is the only one sort of specific.
So, a randomly aged NAS Lagavulin. Let’s see where we stand.
The smoke is heavy and more ‘raw’ than in the regular sixteen year old. Quite heavy with typical Lagavulin flavors of tea, lots of orange and some sherry. It’s quite ashy in the background. The nose is more explicit than the regular Lagavulin release, but less balanced and just slightly out of whack.
The surprisingly ashy scent continues on the palate as well, with burnt wood. Tea, smoke, peat, heather are present, and the orange is here too but less pronounced. Quite some sherry influence and rather sharp.
The finish is very dry and coarse. Oak, pepper, ash, heather, smoke and salty. It’s not very long.
It’s a bit of a strange one, this. In a way it’s nice to have a typical Lagavulin that differs from the only steady one in their product line. The sherry influence is nice, and a lot of the other flavors too. However, it’s slightly more one dimensional than the regular one and I think it will get boring rather quickly.
The oak influence is pretty clear and the fierceness does not necessarily help the whisky. It reminds me a bit of Laphroaig Quarter Cask compared to the regular ten year old. It’s nice, but too simple and flat. Having siad that, it’s better than I expected. It’s also better than a lot of NAS whiskies I’ve tried.
Lagavulin Triple Matured, NAS, Friends of the Classic Malt edition, 48%. It’s available from the Green Welly Stop, currently priced at £ 117.
Thanks to TvE for the sample!