Until a couple of years ago there were only two standard Lagavulin releases: the staple 16yo and the Distillers edition. Then came all those special releases whiskies. We’ve got a semi-official bottling of the 12yo cask strength (in yearly batches) and a couple of truly special Lagavulins: a 37yo and two 21yo bottlings.
But it all started with the 2007 release of the 21yo. Distilled in in 1985, matured in sherry casks and although it didn’t sell out immediately like similar bottlings are doing nowadays, it became a cult success and very sought-after whisky and I believe this provided the required spark to all those special releases that came after it.
Thanks to a friend I’ve got a small tasting of this legendary 21yo so without further words, lets see if it does stand up to its reputation:
Lagavulin 21 year old 1985-2007 release (56.5%, £1,200)
Nose: A very Lagavulin nose at first with sweet and gentle peat & smoke. Then the sherry makes its entrance on stage with gentle and deep yet not too strong sherry sweetness. raisins, berries, prunes and gentle spices. It’s so ingrained and balanced with smoked wood on front, sherry and peat a bit behind. What a WOW combo.
Palate: Starts with peat, ash, wood smoke and it’s all laced with sweet sherry, glazed cherries and sweet brown sugar.
Finish: Long finish with wood smoke, sweet peat and sherry sweetness like palate.
Thoughts: WOW. What a whisky – Lavish and sublime, so perfectly balanced. A truly epic one and now I want a bottle although it seems like a very remote chance of it ever happening when bottles are £800 to £1200 online and in auctions. So jealous at those who have one!
(Thanks R. for the sample)