"Lagavulin 18 yo (49.5%, OB, Bicentenary Edition, Feis Ile 2016, Refill Hogsheads & European Oak Bodega Sherry Butts, 6000 bottles)
I didn’t make it over to Lagavulin’s open day this year but apparently the queue was one of the finest and most impressive yet. When I went this morning to buy a couple of bottles for myself there was still a queue. Perhaps you could call it a ‘living queue’. Each time it is depleted it gets topped up with fresh whisky enthusiasts. Anyway, quite excited to taste this one...
Colour: Pale gold.
Nose: What’s great is that they’ve really tried to embrace the distillery character. Immediately you have lots of these elegant dried kelp notes, subtle camphor aromas and mineral qualities. Lots of fresh oysters, lemon juice, wet rocks, seashore pebbles, sheep’s wool and various medicinal tinctures. Totally classical and quite seductive. I almost don’t want to add water but I don’t want to bring Whiskyfun into disrepute (again). Water brings out some autolytic qualities, the breadiness of a good Blanc du Blanc Champagne along with preserved lemons, smoked cereals and crisp white peppery note. Even a wet dog or two (Serge always apologises to the dogs but I think they probably enjoy being wet). Totally wonderful.
Palate: Bready, peaty, slightly yeasty, gristy, lots of these wonderful tertiary notes which are only found in peated whiskies given sufficient maturation time. Green fruits aplenty, almost more fruity than most modern Lagavulins with a wonderful citrus edge; lots of lemon peel and citrus oils. Some green olive notes and resurgence of these briny notes including capers and anchovies. Perhaps you could add this to a Puttanesca...? With water... it dons a Mezcal mask and gives up notes of smoked agave, more various olives and a soft but luscious phenolic signature.
Finish: Lemony, oily, fruity, smoky, peaty long and totally satisfying.
Comments: This is quite a departure from previous years Feis bottlings, it doesn’t have the same blade-like, ashy sharpness. Instead, this really reminds me of the very early 16 year old White Horse bottlings from the late 1980s. It’s the same kind of fruit-driven, gently phenolic sort of Islay malt. A little paean to the past and a great bottling for their 200th anniversary. I love it, a hugely pleasurable dram. Lets hope that quite a few will be opened and enjoyed rather than just traded at auction. 92 points."
Extracted from: whiskyfun.com