Thursday, August 02, 2007
Lagavulin Distiller's Edition (1989)
Islay Single Malt Whisky
Lagavulin ('hollow where the mill is') is situated in a craggy bay on the south shore of Islay that housed Dunyvaig castle (13th century) and the Macdonald's power-base as Lords of the Isles. It makes sense that there were allegedly over 10 illicit stills operating in this area over 50years before a legal distillery was built buy John Johnston in 1816. Archibald Campbell built Kildalton distillery right next to Lagavulin in the same year and it became a part of Lagavulin in 1837.The whole area, including Laphroaig and Ardbeg distilleries are sometimes referred to as "the Kildalton distilleries" after the celtic cross that stands nearby and Ardbeg released a very limited and much coveted bottling of lightly peated Ardbeg called 'Kildalton 1980'.
The 16yo we all see as the standard bottling of Lagavulin was launched in 1989 as a part of the Classic Malts range. It is still a major crowd pleaser with a worldwide following whose demand unfortunately outstrips its supply.
The last Lagavulin I had (before 9am) was back at Malt Mission #19. Tasted with MH and the notes in quotes below are from his whisky-covered lips.
* This is the current price of this vintage because the Distillers Edition line of Lagavulin has been discontinued on these shores(UK), or if I am mistaken has at least vanished into near nothingness... Canada seems to still carry the stuff, how about in the U.S? Europe? Scandanavia? Asia? Anyone?
Chewing on chocolate covered almonds. Winey and fruity. Hickory sticks. Olives and sea salt. Smoke beautifully integrated in the warmth of all the other characteristics. "Honestly? Cadbury fruit and nut."(There was a chocolate egg stuffed with fruits and nuts on the table, so such an admission was potentially victim to the power of suggestion)
"Creamy and oily, a bit sweet... oh... that's... oh, lots of stuff happening after you swallow. Then spice."
Cream taste but thin texture, long slow wave of flavour from sweetness and shiraz spice to dry dustiness of nuts and ending in sheesha-type smoke; sweet and dense with peat but not heavily smoky.
Totally satisfying, rich and peaty and flavourful. A great variant of the Lagavulin 16yo style, and it's currently the only one. The earthy, salty, peaty Lagavulin wrestles with intensely sweet Pedro Ximenez creating "The Best Islay(Peated) Whisky" in the World Whisky Awards 2007. People will always disagree which entry-level Lagavulin expression is beest but in most blind tastings you will find the Distillers Edition comes out on top.
Malt Mission #126
Malt Mission #127
Malt Mission #128
Malt Mission #130
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