Lagavulin is, like Talisker and Oban, not a distillery you see a lot of in the independent whisky scene. At least, it’s there, but the name of the distillery generally isn’t on the label.
This one is different since it proudly states it’s provenance, and when it was announced little over a month ago or so, I immediately bought a couple. One for sharing, one for later. Not sure why since this probably isn’t one of those obscure bottles that’s going to be highly sought after. Mostly because there were only 60 bottles (!) and it didn’t get a lot of press. Probably because it sold out in a couple of minutes.
Anyway, indie Lagavulin. From Gleann Mór, a bottler I don’t know much about but they seem to have some pretty awesome stuff in their selection. Glenturret 25, Arran 18, Caol Ila 30. Unfortunately they’re pretty expensive and I don’t know enough about their average level to say whether that’s justified or not.
Well, it’s young and spirity. Not in an ‘almost gin’ like way, but it sure is young. Some oak and a lot of peat and smoke. Heather and slate. Basalt, salt, sand, brine. Some straw too. Mostly very coastal.
The palate is less fierce than I expected after the nose and shows some strength, but also a budding maturity. Dry, salty and smoky. Peat and heather, quite earthy too with hints of straw and vanilla.
The finish is an explosion. It’s sharp, and not very long but all flavors come back again, with a vengeance. A bit more vanilla and oak than before, but the fierceness, smoke and peat are back in full swing.
It’s funny, in a way. Because it’s a single cask it’s not going to be as balanced as, say, the annual 12 year old Cask Strength release that Diageo does. It does, however, taste a lot like it.
So, what we have here is a slightly unbalanced (the focus is really heavy on the smoke and coastal notes) whisky that tastes a lot like the annual 12 year old, but is younger and more expensive. Tricky to ‘judge’ that. I did like this dram though, quite a lot actually.
Not too surprising since I have a really big soft spot for the Lagavulin 12 that’s going to arrive again soon.
So, summarizing. I like this whisky a lot. I won’t say I love it but I’m far from disappointed with it, at its given price. I’ve had worse for more. And you can expect to pay a premium for an indie Lagavulin that actually states the name of the distillery.
So, kudos to Gleann Mór for releasing this. I’m happy with my booze! Keep on bringing it!
Lagavulin 10, 01/2005 – 06/2015, 58.3% – Gleann Mór (A Rare Find). Sold out but it went for £ 100.