In exactly seven days I’ll be at Lagavulin Distillery swith TT, FV and JE. We’ll be doing the tour and follow that up with the Warehouse Demonstration (if you look to your left, the thing you see there is a warehouse. Bye bye).
Hopefully the tasting will be hosted by Iain ‘Pinky’ MacArthur, similar to when I was there in 2010. They guy has been with Lagavulin for about five decades, which is an unimaginable amount of time, if you ask me. I am very much looking forward to it, as I am sure you can imagine.
To get in the mood, I decided to finish the tail end of my bottle of Lagavulin Feis Ile from last year. It’s a Moscatel cask, which (in an Islay dram) I generally combine with Caol Ila and their Distillers Edition. It was one of my first Islay whiskies, about 13 years ago or so.
Smooth on the arrival, and sweetly peaty. Quite earthy and dry as well. Vanilla, pear, but also the crispness of star fruit and white grapes. Later the oak starts coming through, and there’s a slightly nutty sweetness happening too.
It’s a lot smoother than you generally expect from a cask strength Islay whisky. Rather gently, smooth and sweet, but there still is some sharpness. I’d say it’s a malty sharpness, somehow. A bit of a fatty, nutty texture afterwards. Some oak, earthiness and peat smoke, but more gently peaty than regular Lagavulin. Some sweet fruits too, pear, maybe even some raisins.
The finish is a lot more peaty than the palate. Almost like the 12 year old Cask Strength releases, although it does miss some of that one’s bite. The nuttiness and sweet fruits are present again, and after a while rather pronounced.
It’s a more sweet expression of Lagavulin than I’m used to, so I write that down to the Moscatel wood. Somehow, I find it a rather nutty whisky, which is not something I’m used to of either Lagavulin or Moscatel. The flavour of grapes is not too surprising when you realize this is a wine cask. Good stuff, and rather different than regular Lagavulin, which is nice for such a one off bottling.
Lagavulin Feis Ile 2017, 16yo, Moscatel Cask, 56.1%. Available through Whiskybase for some 165 euros.