During that one week in May when a lot of folks make their pilgrimage to Islay I’d rather not be on Facebook. Or Twitter for that matter. Not that I’m jealous of everyone being at their favorite distillery and drinking awesome drams, but after a couple of days of selfies with casks, it tends to get a bit tedious.
The hunt for bottles has dissipated a little bit over the years by most distilleries simple releasing more bottles than they used to. Where a couple of years most distilleries released a single cask bottling, nowadays most just blend some casks and increase the number of available bottles.
I don’t think it has done anything for auction craziness right after the festival, since it still seems lucrative to buy a couple of bottles to pay for your holiday afterwards. Shop prices for the Lagavulin are currently over € 700, where the initial retail price at the distillery was some € 175! Of course, auction results might very well differ from this, as it usually does.
Last two years I’ve been able to ask someone to bring me a bottle of the Feis Ile release from Lagavulin, sometimes even in July they were still available at the distillery. This year was different and the bottles sold out really fast. A bummer since everyone bought their own two bottles (one to drink, on for later) and had none to spare. Luckily I was able to get some samples to try it a couple of times.
Oh, and triple matured shenanigans again, like in the most recent Lagavulin FotCM bottling. In this case I believe they finished the entire product in Puncheons after being in American oak and PX casks.
Hickory smoke from the barbecue, so a really thick and meaty smokiness at first. Quite some alcohol and a tad of acetone. Rather green and barley, a light hint of vanilla. The sherry is a little dry and astringent, then oak and tea.
The palate is spicy and dry with fresh oak shavings, smoke and heather. Grass, a little greasy. It becomes sharper as you let it swim (it’s almost 60% after all). Slightly salty and a lot of oak.
Heavy smoke and warming. Sweet, long with lots of oak, heather and chocolate.
As with the FotCM I don’t really know what the triple matured stuff does for the whisky. It seems a bit like most Lagavulins except the Distiller’s Edition and the 12 year old Cask Strength release (respectively sherry and bourbon casks) in that this is a mix of flavors. What the puncheons did for it except add more oak influence is a mystery.
Also, Diageo is, in this case, not as forward with their information as they seems since they just say American Oak (first fill, refill?) and Pedro Ximenez (European oak, American oak, first fill, refill?). The same goes for the ‘oak puncheon’.
What’s more important is to know whether or not this is a good whisky, but come-on, it’s a Feis Ile Lagavulin. Of course it’s awesome! It’s ridiculously tasty and quite strong, but there’s a lot of flavor and a lot to discover. Quite a demanding dram from start to finish.
The combination with that hickory smoke and the dryness of the heather and oak is a great combination. Luckily it’s not just some vanilla driven modern dram. So, so good!
Lagavulin 1991-2015, Triple matured, Feis Ile 2015, 59.9%