Lagavulin 8 Years 200th Anniversary Edition Review

“That’s The Way Islaykit” 

Whisky Review # 640

Country: Scotland
Region: Islay
Brand: Lagavulin (Limited 200th Anniversary Edition)
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Age: 8 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 48%
Maturation: American Oak Bourbon casks
Chill Filtration: Likely
Price Range: US$ 60-70 (September 2017) 
Buying Advice: 😀Positive. Expensive but this is what Islay is all about! 

Colour: Pale Straw/White Wine (Artificially Coloured)

Nose: On the Nose, this 8 years hides its youth quite nicely. It's got personality but it does not present the unnecessary Sharp and/or Edgy notes I regularly encounter in not fully matured Islay Spirit. It's not too Sweet as well. It's straightforward Islay and I like it. I find Briny Peat, Campfire Smoke, Ashes, Tar, Soot, Iodine, Wet Sand, PVC Pipes, Wet Cardboard, Diesel, Toasted Malt, slightly Burnt Toast, Caramel, Honey, Leather, Lemon Zest, Straw, Fish and Shell Fish on the Grill, Toasted Walnuts, Herbal Tea, Pepper, Cinnamon, Green Apple, Sour Berries, Oak and some Licorice. Surprisingly Well-Balanced for its age. Of course there's a bit of Alcohol but it's not at all aggressive. The ABV is spot on.

Visit May 2014

Palate: Balanced combination of Sweet, Bitter and Sour. A bit Thin perhaps. Its Youth is more noticeable now but it manages to hold its ground. I find Toasted Barley, Brown Sugar, Salted Caramel, Honey, Smoked Fish and Shell Fish, light Smoke, Wet Clay, Soot, Tar, Iodine, Leather, Green Apple, Citrus Peel, After Eight Chocolate, Toasted Nuts, Fresh and Dried Herbs, Tobacco, light Menthol, light Licorice, Pepper, Ginger and Cinnamon.           

Finish: Middle-Long, Bitter-Sweet, Spicy and Mineral. Quite Dry in the end. It feels a bit Thin despite the adequate ABV. I find Toasted Barley, Salted Caramel, Toffee, Honey Melon, Green Apple, Roasted Nuts, Wet Stone, Wet Clay, Smoke, Ashes, Tar, Pepper, Cinnamon, Ginger, Citrus Peel, Sour Berries, light Menthol, a few Herbs and Tobacco.  

Drinking Advice:
No need to add Water to this Lagavulin. You get extra Fruit (Green Apples) but you loose balance, 

Rating: 88

Nose: 22.5 - Taste: 22 - Finish: 21.5  - Overall: 22

General Remarks:

🏣   The Distillery and Today's Whisky:

The distillery was founded in 1816 by John Johnston and is located on the South-Eastern coast on Islay, close to Port Ellen. It changed hands various times during its history but today it is firmly controlled by Diageo. Lagavulin currently produces around 2.5 million liters. Lagavulin is one of the key Malts in the White Horse Blend. 

The 8 Years I'm reviewing today was launched in 2016 to celebrate the 200th Anniversary of Lagavulin. It's a Tribute to Alfred Barnard, the author of "Whisky Distilleries of the United Kingdom". He visited the distillery in the 1880's and had an 8 Years old Lagavulin that he described as "Exceptionally Fine". As far as I know, Lagavulin released two batches of this 8 Year old. My sample does not give any information in this respect.

🍷  The Spirit:

Lagavulin operates two pairs of stills. Relatively short Copper contact and a slow distillation produce a full-bodied classical Islay Spirit. The water is sourced from Solum Lochs.

Visit May 2014

🌲  The Wood:

The 8 Years matured exclusively in Bourbon casks made of American Oak. Based on the colour I assume those were Refill casks.

Drinking Experience: Very Good


This Lagavulin 8 Years shows that with care you can produce a good young Malt. Without the fairy tales, the Gaelic names and with an Age-Statement. Kudos for Diageo in this case. Let's hope this is the way forward. It's still too expensive of course but we need to consider the fact that it's a very special Limited Edition. I was really surprised by the balance of this Lagavulin. You won't find that a lot at this age. A very tasty combination of Sweet, Bitter and Sour while maintaining all the Islay characteristics that we know and love. A real personality! My only criticism is the fact that the delivery, mouth-feel and finish are a little on the Thin side despite the perfect ABV. A few First Fill casks here and there could have done the trick.  Other than that I really liked this Lagavulin 8 years and I would love to see this become part of the core range. It would become an instant classic next to the completely different 16 years. Let's do it Diageo!

Jan van den Ende                                                              September 4, 2017

Visit May 2017


Anonymous said...

Dear Jan,

I was really looking forward to this review as I was also impressed by this dram and I actualy agree with you: I would love to see the 8yo as part of the standard range.
Once more: very exciting reviews lately and announced for the future- keep it up
Best regards

Jan van den Ende said...

Hi Bjorn, thanks for your kind words. It's a nice honest Islay dram! I liked it as well! Cheers, Jan.

Unknown said...

Great review, this is my second one and I will keep coming back. Please write more.

Jan van den Ende said...

Hi Winston, thanks for commenting and your kind words! Really appreciated! Don't worry, I aim to write 2 reviews per week! Cheers, Jan.