Apart from some cask samples at the Warehouse Tasting at the distillery, I don’t think I ever had a Lagavulin this old. In fact, I know that for sure. Of course, that’s not too surprising with there only being six older bottlings with a higher age statement on Whiskybase!
This ‘Cask of Distinction’ was bottled for Hong Kong Whisky Fellows, House Welley Whisky Bar, Christoph Kirsch,Sebastian Jaeger and Boris Borissov. The last two are part of what is colloquially known as Wu Dram Clan, and there we have a bit of explanation how I got my grubby mitts on a sample of this! So let’s start there, by saying thanks to these lads!
What is also interesting to know is that while this is a PX and Oloroso seasoned cask, it is not officially a sherry cask. I’m not entirely sure why, but it’s interesting. There are quite a lot of sherry casks out there, but this one is made from European oak, and that is becoming a rarity as the years crawl by. Most casks are made of American oak, even when they’re sherry casks. A good thing to know!
I don’t think we need to discuss Lagavulin and its awesomeness too much. Nor the rarity of the age of this whisky, so let’s dive in!
A gentle whiff of briny smoke, followed by slightly bitter caramel and marram grass. The ‘brownness’ of European oak, with hints of dark dried fruits, mulch and a bit of sherry, the oxidized kind. Leather, after some time.
The palate is super gentle at first. After a few seconds there’s some black pepper. It’s a bit more sweet than I expected. Dried dates and plums, with an almond like bitterness. Hay and marram grass.
The finish is surprisingly dry. Almond flour, yeasty sherry, a bit of briny richness. Iodine, and some bandaids, dates.
This is a very traditional Lagavulin. It’s not unlike the Distiller’s Edition, but with infinitely more depth and class. The gentleness is surprising, although the low ABV should have given some of that away I guess.
All in all a very gentle giant, with lots of flavors to be discovered. It does very well what Lagavulin is known for, and that is a very, very good thing to be doing!
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