Lagavulin’s unofficial bottlings are quite rare and it is always a pleasure to appreciate the distillery’s characteristics through the choices of independent single cask bottlers. Lagavulin has a very strict policy in this regard. Just consider that the good Serge has reviewed “only” about thirty of them, compared to about 8 thousand cards lovingly filled out during the life of whiskyfun. This second edition of Speciality Drinks has no declared age, we are very curious…
N: The alcohol is quite pungent. It still seems unripe: vegetable, malty and well peaty. Also mineral (stream stones) and iodine. From what was said at the Milano Whisky Festival tasting, we learnt that it is an ex-bourbon first-fill cask, but frankly we wouldn’t have guessed it easily: sweetness and sugariness are in fact far below a distillate which, perhaps also because of its high alcohol content, is quite “naked”. If you want to make a comparison, it is close to the 12 years old. Good notes of licorice and vanilla in sticks. Compared to the usual characteristics of the distillery, such a strong, overbearing smoke (melted rubber) is surprising. A sprinkle of fresh flowers and a bit of “bitter” lemon zest. Adding water, the nose becomes even more insular, marine. As Serge says, “wild”.
P: softened alcohol, well integrated. Actually, on the palate, next to an insularity that is definetely confirmed (a lot of peat smoke, marine), the first fill barrel emerges, with a very, very intense creaminess. The burnt wood is impressive, again molten rubber. Really unconventional. We still find a woody licorice and hints of almonds, as well as suggestions of bitter roots.
F: all on burnt wood and young malt; long and pleasant.
We confirm what was said in the introduction: it is really worth tasting single barrels from one of Scotland’s most talented distilleries. Also in the case in question, where the variables “young spirit” and “first-fill barrel” bring a fairly unsettling distillate into the glass. Good, good: 87/100.
Recommended soundtrack: Soerba – I am happy