This is another excellent Lagavulin with a rather questionable cask setting but a fine result, nonetheless. I really like it, just the nose was too shy for me (given this is a Lagavulin)...
The colour is jonquiripe corn and the texture shows small tears that consolidate to bigger ones with slow legs. The nose is rather subtle on a fine autumn floral and herbal profile (what indicates European oak, usually) with almost no sherry aromas at all. So, what does ex-bodega butt mean? Was there ever sherry in these butts or were these casks that much "rejuvenated" that all of the flavours are gone now? Rejuvenation of casks seems the "miracle approach" of the Scotch whisky industry to the ever growing cask shortage crisis (due to the ongoing whisky boom). But a rejuvenated cask shows more the profile of new oak (after planing off all the depleted wood there is virgin oak only as the prior content did not reach the inner wood at all). So they can write ex-sherry (or in this case bodega) butt legally but actually this is cheating on the customer - it is new wood, finally! Nonetheless, this nose is quite fine and balanced but it is not impressive at all.
The taste is richer than the nose (what is good!) and greatly chewable on fine barley sugars, maritime peaty flavours, some fruits and herbs in a firm and just about right wooden framework. That is really good and the Lagavulin-style I adore (again: Age DOES matter!). It is layered and interesting to explore, after some chewing I detect even some shy sherry flavours, perfect!
The dram arrives warming and nicely coating on the palate with no distracting moments (compare this to the mouthfeel of this year's Laphroaig Cairdeas that I had just before and you will see: Age DOES matter!). The finish is long and sweeter than the taste with a minor drying end (that is not very much distracting). Water releases more aromas both in the nose and on the palate and it turns the whole dram more pleasing to the taste buds. But to be honest, sometimes my taste buds prefer not to be pleased (but challenged) and so I like the neat dram better.