I rarely revisit Lagavulin, perhaps because I know it’s there. Of course, it’s the 16yo I’m talking about. Until the 8yo and 12yo appeared relatively recently, alternative expressions rarely came up – none via the independents that I’ve tried. Sure, there are the festival bottlings and special releases, but they are, at best, annuals [if you can get your hands on them]. This festival expression came from the 2013 Islay Jazz Fest, the same year as I visited Islay for the first time in October. I picked up this samples from the Old & Rare show for a steal [just £5 for a very generous 25ml pour], from the equally generous Tomislav Ruszkowski.
N: The abv-strength appears formidable but offers up glorious oils, most gentile/relaxed oily phenols, grated carrot & cabbage [that’s a new one], a dry-crusty saltiness,…. With the smoke being more of a passing glance, it’s the salty oiliness which is this one’s most attractive feature.
T: My my, that is a glorious and effortless arrival, everytime. There’s me raving about a single cask 10yo Edradour and a 9yo SMWS Allt-a-bhainne as ‘divine’ and ‘composed’ respectively [reports to follow], but here, we are on an altogether different level. The arrival into the journey continues along savoury oily lines, the more bitter peat always quietly working behind the scenes yet present and expanding, the overall development so involving, and again, so effortless at 51.9%. Phenomenal!
F: From start to finish, this keeps on dancing and dancing. What’s lacking? Nothing. The peaty earthy phenols seep deep, leaving a savoury-sweet ash on the palate top.
C: Phenomenal indeed. A contemporary classic without a shadow,…. With thanks to Tom.