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LAGAVULIN 16 YO ‘FEIS ILE 2017’ (2017, OB, 56,1%)

Like Zapotec and Marlin, we created a time machine that brought us back to the 2017 Feis Ile: we had with moderate satisfaction the 20 yo Bunnahabhain in Virgin Oak, now we move on the other side of the island, patiently queueing outside Lagavulin… Of course, when we talk about Lagavulin’s Open Day 2017 we cannot forget the image above, a piece of imperishable Italianness, hot stamped in the mind of each of us. That said, let’s taste this sixteen year old that made a final maturation in ex-Moscatel barrels, bottled at cask strength, unchill filtered and uncolored.  

N:  we clearly feel the Moscatel influence, with delicate notes of cherries, raisins, hot cake, short pastry, with raisins perhaps. Licorice and caramel. Apart from that, it is an excellent ‘regular’ Lagavulin, with sharp and acrid peat, smell of port, fish and brine, cigar smoke, ash; then it has citrus notes, bitter orange, maybe dried.

P: very fat in the mouth. The first impact is still on sweetness, with notes of pastry (at the moment we can think of a good cannoncino filled with custard), raisins and Kranz. Again caramel, sweet licorice. Then the peat explodes, still ashy and marine. What an irrepressible saltyness!

F: salt and raisins macerated in alcohol. Ash and cream. Very long…

This Laga is very good and quite complex, which happens very often with Lagavulin. We liked this compact and nuanced sweetness: salty caramel and pastry, with the sharper side of Lagavulin that remains indomitable and not tameable. This is not the best possible Laga, perhaps, but certainly a dram that leaves so much satisfaction: at least for us, perhaps not for the Islay fisherman who insulted us when we chose to spend 18 pounds to order it at a pub in Port Ellen. He just said: “How can you drink that stuff, it burns in your stomach, it smells of smoke? Whisky must be soft, like White&Mackay”. And this, of course, after a session of Tennent’s pints definitely tight, judging by his face and breath. To prove our free spirit and freedom of thought, we do not let ourselves be influenced by this hero and we print 88/100.

Recommended soundtrack: P.F.M. – Oniro.

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