Thanks to Throzen for pouring this dram.
Ron Swanson. I’ll take all my views and upvotes and whisky internet stardom now, please.
Wait, I can’t just mention I had Lagavulin – Lg11 – Elements of Islay and that’s it? Darn, guess I’ll have to say something. How will I, someone who’s normally writing short reviews, going to do it?
That’s all sarcasm, of course, I enjoy a good verbal mastubatory exercise as much as the next verbose fool.
So what do we have here? First off, it’s an independently bottled Lagavulin, and not one of those sharp, rare, and (let’s be honest) very expensive Lagavulin releases that Diageo puts out either only on the island or behind glass (more glass than normal) or sitting in Diageo’s executive Glencairn. Or whatever the super rich drink out of. Human Skulls? Probably human skulls.
No, Lagavulin – Lg11 – Elements of Islay is a less expensive bottle, made in very odd ways. And that’s coming from me, one of many whisky reviewers who wish we never hear the term “hyper ageing” again.
This contains four casks of 2007 Lagavulin. Pretty simple, right? Well two of those casks were left to age from 2007 to 2014. The other two? They were aged 8 years, and then placed in glass until the other casks were ready.
That’s really weird, and something about 2007 Lagavulin must have caught the attention of either someone at Diageo or someone at Elixir Distillers. Or maybe they just forgot the two casks in the glass? Dumber, much stupider things have happened in the alcohol industry.
So how does this experiment taste? Ron Swanson… Damn, I still have to write notes, don’t I? Okay, let’s see, shall we?
Price: £85 for a 500ml bottle.
Casks Used: 2 14-year-old 2007 Lagavulin Barrels and 2 8-year-old 2007 Lagavulin Barrels (which were placed in glass to maintain their age).
Cask type: Ex-Bourbon Barrels
No of bottles: 1,067
Colour: 5Y 9/4
Nose: Lots of Icing sugar, smoke, pear, bit of melted butter
It smells like icing sugar. Honestly that’s the only note for quite awhile actually. It’s like making cinnamon buns but you skipped to the white icing and then left out the lard.
Eventually you do get some fat though, as well as smoke and pear. It’s just… a lot of icing sugar notes. Very sweet, though I feel like I don’t have to say that, unless you see Diabetes as an end goal.
Taste: Smoke, pear, oyster, honey, caramel
Good news! It’s not just fluffy sugar!
Other than that it’s a more brine rich Lagavulin. Some dry sweet notes/caramel, rough smoke, and some fruit. Still very sweet. Compared to the standard? Less balanced and developed.
Finish: Anise, brown sugar, raisin, toffee
Wow, that gets very rich. We’re talking about ripping people off with a new made up currency getting rich quick here. Rich anise, the caramel is richer, the pear is raisin now, and that sugar has a boatload of molasses in it.
Honestly the best part. I think I get why they made this now.
Conclusion: Very rich and very sweet. It’d be hard to sell someone on this if they weren’t a huge Lagavulin fanboy. Massive fanboy, I should say.
I get the feeling that someone tasted these four casks, loved the finish, and wanted to keep that somehow. Around the 7 year point they start losing it, so they take two casks out to the glass and leave the others. At least that’s my headcanon.
Should you buy this? Are you trying to have different flavours of Lagavulin? Do you like rich desserts? If yes to both of those, and you have space for an open peated whisky, sure, why not. It’s simple and fine and interesting.
Scotch review #1579, Islay review #410, Whisky Network review #2303