Last summer, on the isle of Arran, Lagg Distillery opened its doors. The property is the same as Arran’s: they decided – long story short – to move the production of peated whisky (the ‘old’ Machrie Moor) there. But things are not so simple: as a matter of fact, Lagg intends to be an experimental laboratory of peated whisky. They aim to test different qualities of peat from different areas of Scotland, as well as to study the influence of the various yeasts on the spirit. For the moment, of course, one cannot taste Lagg’s whisky, but only his new make – which is brilliant, by the way. If you visit the distillery, however, you can buy some limited editions of Arran’s Machrie Moor, exclusive to Lagg’s visitor center. Today we are tasting a sample from one of these bottles, brought in Italy by our friend Francesco, who went to Arran last year – and whom we thank for the tribute. This is Fingal’s Cut ‘Quarter Cask’, with no declared age and matured – who would have said?- in quarter casks.
N: interesting, certainly very green and very fresh. We have a curious balsamic note at first, between pine needles, eucalyptus and even a bit of laurel. There is a linked note of sea, of winter sea air. The peat doesn’t certainly go unnoticed, and gives us a ‘green’ smoke: it resembles the steam of a sauna impregnated with resin… in short, Vicks Vaporub. There is also the sweetness of the barrel, more traditional, with vanilla, custard, pear mousse.
P: the attack is very sweet, on sugar, apples (green apple), fresh almonds and a little coconut. Then the flavour evolves towards balsamic, with a balsamic candy effect again; it closes on bitter, herbaceous notes (Zucchetti has a revelation: cardamom) almost on a burnt lemon note (btw, if you never used it as seasoning, well, you should).
F: eucalyptus honey, still very balsamic and resinous, with a beautiful pungent, acrid embrace of peat and a warm sweet cereal note.
Interesting and surprising, the over-charged sweetness is always there, at the beginning of each phase, but then it fades in favor of a devastating and unusual balsamic note. The profile does not tell us anything specific about Lagg’s whiskey, of course, but reminds us that Machrie Moor is a pleasant peaty malt, very different from Islay’s, and with a recognizable identity. 84/100.
Recommended soundtrack: Stereo MC’s – Connected.