Showing posts with label Tasting Notes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tasting Notes. Show all posts

Mackmyra Motorhead Review


“Ace of Spades Meets The Dancing Queen” 

Whisky Review # 645

Country: Sweden
Brand: Mackmyra Motorhead (Limited Edition - Batch # 1)
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Age: NAS (Around 5 Years)
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 40%
Maturation: Bourbon casks with Partial Sherry Finish  
Chill Filtration: Yes  
Price Range: US$ 65-80 (September 2017) 
Buying Advice: 😐 Neutral. Nice Mackmyra. Expensive for a 5 Year old!

Colour: Golden Amber (Natural Colour)

Nose: I immediately get the Aroma of the New Wood that is quite characteristic for West-European mainland Whisky. Light Resin, Alcohol and Varnish are there as well but not in a very aggressive way. I also find Freshly baked Croissant, Salted Butter, Butterkekse (German Butter Biscuits), Toasted Cereals, Caramel, Toffee, Honey, Sugared Almonds, Vanilla, Hay, Dried Fruit/Nuts mix, Dried and Fresh Herbs, Lemon, Aniseed and some faint hints of Green Tobacco, Tutti Frutti Bubble Gum and Freshly printed Newspaper. On the Nose, Motorhead is mostly Sweet with some Sour and Herbal notes. The First-Fill American Oak barrels lead the way but the Sherry cask finish is noticeable as well and slightly masks the youth of the Spirit. The Nose is certainly not unpleasant although it's more Abba than Motorhead. 

Palate: The Youth of the Spirit is more noticeable now. And so is the Alcohol. But fortunately it doesn't get out of control. On the Palate, Motorhead is Sweet, Herbal and slightly Spicy. I find Toasted Barley, Toffee, Caramel, Vanilla, Hay, Almonds, Lemon, Raisins, Honey, Orchard Fruit, Dried and Fresh Herbs, light Aniseed, Menthol, Pepper, Ginger, Cloves and Toasted Oak. Abba is gone and Motorhead takes control!

Finish: Middle-Long, Sweet, Herbal, slightly Hot and Spicy. Dry towards the end with a light Metallic note that will please Motorhead fans😜. I also find Sweet Barley, Vanilla, Toffee, Salted Caramel, Raisins, Lemon-Flavoured Herbal Tea, Grass, Toasted Oak, Pepper, Ginger, Cloves, light Aniseed, light Menthol, light Varnish and hints of Green Tobacco.

Drinking Advice:

The Motorhead does not improve with added Water. Better sip it neat.

Rating: 80.5 

Nose: 20.5 - Taste: 20 - Finish: 20 - Overall: 20.5


General Remarks:

🏣   The Distillery and Today's Whisky:

The first Mackmyra distillery was founded in 1999. In 2012 a new distillery started production. It is located just outside Gavle, only a few miles away from the first distillery. The new structure is one of the highest in its kind and follows the gravity model where the production process starts on the upper floor and works it way downwards. This process decreases energy costs by almost 45%. The owners (Mackmyra Svensk Whisky AB) suffered some financial problems in 2014, probably as a result of the huge investment in the new distillery. As a result production went down considerably. But it seems that the situation is back under control now and the future looks bright. 

The British Rock/Heavy Metal Band Motorhead was formed in June 1975. In 2015 it celebrated its 40th Anniversary. To commemorate this achievement the Motorhead Whisky was released in collaboration with beverage partner Brands for Fans and the Mackmyra distillery. The band most likely choose Mackmyra because drummer Mikkey Dee hales from Sweden. Apparently the band played an active role in choosing the casks and the subsequent blending process. 2015 was to be a year of celebration but unfortunately Motorhead's founder and lead- vocalist/bass player Ian "Lemmy" Kilmister died from cancer on December 28, 2015. The following day the two other band members confirmed that Motorhead would not continue.

Mackmyra Stills (Picture Credit: Petr Dudin)

🍷  The Spirit:

The new distillery has one pair of Stills. The Lyne arms have a slight downwards angle. With the exception of the yeast, all raw materials are sourced within an area of 75 miles around the distillery. The water is filtered naturally before being sterilised with a high-intensity UV light. The distillation process is very slow creating a full, mature Spirit.


🌲  The Wood:

The Spirit used for this Whisky basically matured in new First-Fill American Oak Barrels. A small part of the Whisky was finished in Ex-Oloroso casks during the last 6 months before being re-married with the remaining Spirit before bottling.

Drinking Experience: Good

Conclusion:

When Nosing and Tasting European mainland Whiskies you should really switch off your Scotch references. In my opinion these mainland Whiskies have their own Aroma and Flavour profile and should be judged as such. In doing so I find this Motorhead quite enjoyable despite the fact that it's Young and dominated by the New Wood. It's easier to enjoy this type of Whisky if you're into Bourbon. On the Nose, this Mackmyra is more like Pop Music but on the Palate and in the Finish it's Sharper and Edgy and even presents a slight (Heavy) Metal note. This Whisky was not really "Born to Raise Hell" but I'm sure it will please Motorhead fans nevertheless as it was created to honour the musical legacy of this famous band. 

Jan van den Ende                                                            September 21, 2017

Mackmyra Gravity Distillery, Gavde (Picture Credit: Robin Hayes)

Compass Box The Circus Review


“There’s No Business Like Show Business”

Whisky Review # 644

Country: Scotland
Brand: Compass Box The Circus (Limited Edition)
Type: Blended Whisky
Age: NAS
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 49%
Maturation: Pre-Blended and then married in Sherry Butts
Chill Filtration: No
Price Range: US$ 250-300 (September 2017)
Buying Advice: πŸ˜’ Interesting but too expensive for what it offers.

Colour: Golden Amber - Bronze (Natural Colour)

Nose: Much lighter than I expected. My first impressions are Sweet Wood, Hay, and Cherry-Flavoured Cough Syrup. A little Varnish as well. Make sure to give The Circus enough time in the glass. The Grain Alcohol is clearly noticeable but certainly not in an aggressive way. The overall impression is a little Dusty & Musty with both Sweet and Sour notes. After a while I find Apple Strudel with a generous portion of Rum or Brandy-Soaked Raisins and Sultanas. I also identify Toasted Nuts and Cereals, Buttered Toast, Caramel, Vanilla, Brown Sugar, Nougat, Blackberry Jam, Dusty Road, Orange Liqueur, Peaches with Whipped Cream, Cinnamon, Ginger and hints of Tobacco and Leather. It's not bad and certainly interesting but there is an old and slightly tired feel to the nose of The Circus.


Palate: Again not as intense as I was expecting. The Grain Alcohol is certainly more noticeable now. I find Toasted Cereals, Toasted Hazelnuts, Dried Fruit like Sultanas and Apricot, Caramel, Butterscotch, Brown Sugar, Nougat, Sugared Strawberries, Vanilla, Treacle, Dusty Road, Apple, Pear, Orange Liqueur, Cocoa Powder, Pepper, Ginger, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Varnish and some hints of Leather, Tobacco and Espresso.

Finish: Light, a little Sharp and on the Short side. Sweet at first but with quite a few Bitter Wood notes towards the Dry end. I find Toasted Cereals, Caramel, Vanilla, Dried Fruit and Toasted Nuts, Orange Liqueur, Grapefruit Juice, Menthol, Ginger, Pepper, Cinnamon, Clove and hints of Tobacco, Polished Leather, Bitter Chocolate and Espresso.

Drinking Advice:
I added a few drops of Water and some of the Fruity notes on the Nose open up.  Tinned Peach and Pineapple come to my mind. The added Water reduces the impact of the Alcohol in the Finish. On the Palate it becomes a little Thin though despite the high ABV. You can certainly experiment with a few drops at a time.

Rating: 83

Nose: 21.5 - Taste: 20.5 - Finish: 20 - Overall: 21


General Remarks:

The Circus was launched in March 2016. It is named after the 1928 Charlie Chaplin silent movie. Like a Circus, this Blend seeks to offer a moment of magic! It's a very limited Edition and only 2490 bottles went to the market. Compass Box is known for its battle with the Whisky authorities as it favours the total disclosure of Blended Whisky components. This is not the case here however. Like The General, launched in 2013, The Circus was blended at a young age and subsequently married in Sherry Butts for 1/3 (Grain) and 2/3 (Blends) of the total maturation time. There are 4 main components in this Blend. Blended Scotch Whisky represents 57.2% and was married in Refill Sherry casks for a long time. Blended Scotch Grain Whisky represents 26% and was married in Refill Sherry casks for a long time. A Benrinnes Single Malt Whisky represents 15.4% and matured most likely for around 10 years in a First Fill Sherry butt. The last component representing 1.4% is a second batch of Blended Scotch Whisky and was married in Refill Sherry butts for a long time. I would roughly guess that the Grain content totals 60-65% and the Malt content 35-40%. Not much is known about the contents of the Blended part, not even to Compass Box themselves. It is possible that Single Malt from Glen Ord is part of the recipe. The Circus will be difficult to find these days.

Drinking Experience Neat: Interesting but lacking balance.

Conclusion: The Circus might be a perfect name for this Blend but perhaps not quite the way Compass had in mind. Because while this Blend is certainly quite interesting to nose and taste, it also seems to miss balance and direction. It's a bit like the horses and other animals running around in circles in the ring. It's nice to watch but they aren't going anywhere. This is the general feeling I have after having nosed and tasted The Circus. There are some nice notes there but also Varnish, Sharp Alcohol and Bitter Wood. It's a bit of a mixed bag I must say. And much lighter than I expected. Certainly not a Sherry Bomb. So while I enjoyed the tasting experience it's hard to recommend buying a full bottle as it's quite expensive. I was never much of a Circus guy anyway and this Blend hasn't changed my mind.

Jan van den Ende                                                             September 18, 2017

Benrinnes Distillery - Visit May 2014

Glen Deveron 10 Years Review - Glen Deveron 16 Years Review


Glen Deveron/Macduff Special”

🏣   The Distillery and Today's Whiskies:

The Macduff distillery was founded in 1960 and was bought in 1972 by William Lawson Distillers. Since then, most of the Macduff Spirit is used for the well-known William Lawson's Blend. Since 1993, the distillery is owned by John Dewar & Sons Ltd (Bacardi Group). Official Distillery bottlings of Single Malt have always been released under the Glen Deveron brand name. Macduff is known as Glen Deveron as well because it was constructed next to the River Deveron. In 2015 the new core range and packaging was released under the name The Deveron. It consists of the 10, 12 and 18 Years. Macduff produces around 3 million liters of Spirit per year (2017).

The 10 Years I'm reviewing today was part of the old Glen Deveron core range that was distilled and bottled before 2015.

The 16 Years I'm reviewing today was launched in 2013. Together with a 20 and a 30 year old it forms The Royal Burgh Collection, a Travel Retail exclusive at first. In the meantime however, it is available elsewhere as well. The collection commemorates the Royal Burgh of Banff, the old sea port beside the distillery granted charter by the Scottish King Robert II.
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Whisky Review # 642

Country: Scotland
Region: Eastern Highlands
Brand: Glen Deveron
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Age: 10 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 40%
Maturation: Bourbon and Sherry Casks
Chill Filtration: Yes  
Price Range: US$ 30-45 (September 2017) 
Buying Advice: πŸ˜’ Not recommended.  

Colour: Full Gold (Artificially Coloured)

Nose: Relatively Young and Edgy, Simple, Sweet and Sour, Malty and Citrusy. A  few Floral notes as well. I find Toasted Breakfast Cereals, Oat Meal, Caramel, Toffee, light Vanilla, Yeast, Pine Needles, Dusty Road, Nut Shells, Orange Peel,  Apple Vinegar, Green Wood, Condensed Milk, Dried Fruit, Cinnamon, Nutmeg and Ginger. Most of the above are mere hints. Cereals, Citrus, Orchard Fruit and Green Wood are the main drivers. The Alcohol is not fully integrated. There's not too much to get excited about actually.     

Palate: Young, Thin and Bitter-Sweet. I find Toasted Cereals, Caramel, Toffee, Treacle, Grass, Straw, light Heather-Honey, Orange, Dried Fruit, Nuts, Vanilla, Menthol, Licorice, Pepper, Nutmeg, Ginger, Dusty Road, Green Wood and a bit of Lemon Zest. 

Finish: Quite Short, Bitter-Sweet, Rough and Nervous. A rather unpleasant Metallic off-note towards the end. Sharp Vodka-type Alcohol notes. I also find Toasted Grain, Nut Shells, Caramel, Toffee, Green Wood, Green Apples, Straw, light Licorice, Menthol, Pepper and Nutmeg.


Drinking Advice:
The Glen Deveron 10 years completely disappears as a Single Malt Whisky after adding a few drops of Water. Is that good or bad? You decide! 

Rating: 75.5

Nose: 20 - Taste: 18.5 - Finish: 18 - Overall: 19 

Drinking Experience: Okay/Below Average

Conclusion:

It might be good Blend fodder but this Glen Deveron 10 Years doesn't present sufficient Aromas and Flavours to consider it as an interesting Single Malt. It's mainly Cereals with a bit of Citrus, Green Apple and a few Wood Spices. It's quite Watery and Thin and the Wood Management is indifferent. The percentage of Sherry casks is either low or the casks weren't very active. The Finish is too Short and too Sharp and the Metallic off-note should not be there. Not a Single Malt I would recommend. There are lots of better entry alternatives.   
================


🍷  The Spirit:

The Macduff Distillery has a very unusual uneven number of Stills. Two wash stills and three Spirit stills. The Lyne arms have various angles and produce a medium-bodied Sweet Spirit. The Malt is unpeated but the Water is sourced from the Gelly Burn and passes over peaty soil.

Picture Credit: Whisky.com

🌲  The Wood:

I have no specific information on this issue. Based on the Nosing and Tasting I would assume that both the 10 Years and 16 Years matured in mix of Bourbon and Sherry casks, the majority probably consisting of Refill Ex-Bourbon casks. I believe that the percentage of Sherry casks was certainly higher in the 16 Years.
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Whisky Review # 643

Country: Scotland
Region: Eastern Highlands
Brand: Glen Deveron (Royal Burgh Collection)
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Age: 16 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 40%
Maturation: Bourbon and Sherry casks. 
Chill Filtration: Yes  
Price Range: US$ 60-80 (September 2017) 
Buying Advice: 😐 Okay if you can find it at around 60 US Dollars. 

Colour: Golden Amber (Artificially Coloured)

Nose: Clearly more Sherry cask influence here when compared to the 10 Years. I get a little Sulphur as well but it's within limits. The Alcohol is still noticeable but not in an aggressive way. Cereals, Citrus and Orchard Fruit remain in the lead but the balance is much better here. I find Sweet Barley, Pancakes with Golden Syrup, Buttered Toast, Heather-Honey, Toffee, Caramel, Vanilla, Fresh cut Hay, Pine Needles, Apple Pie with Whipped Cream, Citrus Peel, Mandarin Juice, Dried Fruit, Hazelnuts, Cocoa Powder, Oak, light Spices, light Mint and Dusty Road. The Nose of the 16 Years is not breath-taking but much better and more pleasant than the 10 Years.

Palate: Rather Thin delivery. This Malt deserves an ABV of 46% and deserves to be bottled without adding Caramel. On the Palate, the 16 Years is mostly Sweet but there are some Sour and Bitter notes as well. I find Sweet Barley, Toffee, Caramel, Vanilla, Nuts, Cocoa Powder, Green Apple, Pear, Heather-Honey, Oak, Mandarin Juice, Pepper, Cloves, Nutmeg, Cinnamon, Ginger, a little Sulphur, a bit of Lemon, Menthol and the faintest hint of Peat.

Finish: Middle-Long. Mainly Sweet but with some Sour Notes and Bitterness from the Oak as well. I still get a little Metal right at the end but it's more in the background here. I find Sweet Barley, Toffee, Caramel, Vanilla, Tart Green Apple, Pear drops, Orange Peel, Mandarin Juice, Earth, Heather-Honey, Pepper, Cloves, light Nutmeg, Salted Peanuts, Menthol and a vague hint of Strawberry flavoured Yogurt.

Drinking Advice:
I added a few drops of Water and although the overall Aroma and Flavour profile does not change a whole lot, you do get rid of some of the Alcohol and Bitter Oak notes. It gets a little too Thin as well in my opinion but you can carefully add a few drops in this case. As I bought a full bottle of the 16 Years at the Duty Free Shop I also experienced it over a little Ice. Quite pleasant actually. 

Rating: 82 

Nose: 21 - Taste: 20.5 - Finish: 20 - Overall: 20.5 

Drinking Experience: Good

Conclusion:

On the basis of these two Glen Deveron expressions I can safely say that the Single Malts produced at the Macduff distillery are not among my favourites. Having said that I feel that the 16 Years does have potential. It just needs to be bottled at a more adequate ABV and without adding Caramel. A few more active Sherry casks would help as well. Still, the 16 Years is way better than the 10 and at around 60 Dollars for a liter it's certainly worth exploring if you like the general Aroma and Flavour profile where Cereals, Citrus, Orchard Fruit, Oak and Wood spice are the main drivers. For the time being, Macduff's main task is to produce Spirit for Blends. I do hope however they will invest some serious time and effort in their Single Malts as well. As always, the Spirit deserves it! 

Jan van den Ende                                                            September 11, 2017

Macduff Distillery

Glenrothes 1998 Review


“Blend Me Or Shape Me”

Whisky Review # 641

Country: Scotland
Region: Speyside
Brand: Glenrothes 1998
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Age: Around 12 Years (Bottled in 2011)
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 43%
Maturation: Mix of Bourbon - and Sherry seasoned casks. 
Chill Filtration: Yes 
Price Range: US$ 50-70 (September 2017) 
Buying Advice: πŸ˜’ Negative Price/Quality Ratio. Indifferent Wood.  

Colour: Dark Gold with hints of Orange (Natural Colour)

Nose: I'm not too impressed to be honest. I'm not at all sure if I would have recognised this as a Single Malt in a blind tasting. I do get some Refill Sherry Casks as well as some Sulphur but as a whole this comes across as an improved and less aggressive version of the Select Reserve. On the Nose this Glenrothes is rather Light with Floral (Honey) and Citrus (Orange and Lemon) in the lead. I also find Pancakes with Maple Syrup, Buttered Toast, Caramel, Butterscotch, Nut Shells, a bit of Dried Fruit like Raisins and Apricot, Strawberry Yogurt, Apple, White Grapes, Mango, Green Wood, Green Vegetables, Milk and Ginger. Perhaps the faintest possible hint of Smoke. I'm not sure though. The Alcohol is there but not as Sharp and Edgy as in the Select Reserve. All in all a bit of a mixed bag!

Palate: The Alcohol is more noticeable now and I get some Sulphur again. I find Sugared and Toasted Breakfast Cereals, Toffee, Salted Caramel, Vanilla, Straw, Nut Shells, Refill Wood, Honey, Green Apples, Pear, Orange Juice, Pepper, Ginger, Nutmeg, Mint and Cappuccino.

Finish: Middle-Long, Bitter-Sweet, Malty and Spicy. Rather Thin and Rough though. The Alcohol is more noticeable and there's a slight Metallic off-note right at the end. I find Malt, Sugared Breakfast Cereals, Salted Caramel, Vanilla, Nut Shells, Honey, Refill Oak, Straw, Pepper, Ginger, Nutmeg, Cinnamon, Lemon and Mint. Sugared Orange Peels perhaps. Dried Banana Chips after a while.

Drinking Advice:
The Glenrothes 1998 does not improve with added Water. Better sip it neat.

Rating: 81.5

Nose: 20.5 - Taste: 20.5 - Finish: 20 - Overall: 20.5


General Remarks:

🏣   The Distillery and Today's Whisky:

The Glenrothes distillery is located in Rothes (Morayshire) and was founded by James Stuart & Company in 1878. Between 1963 and 1989 the number of Stills increased from 4 to 10. The reason was that Blenders highly appreciated the Glenrothes Spirit and used it in great quantities for Blends like the Famous Grouse and Cutty Sark. The distillery is owned by the Edrington Group since 1999 but the brand name was sold to Independent bottler Berry Bros & Rudd in 2010. The current production amounts to around 4 million litres. Because of the Blender's demand, the first Single Malt was only launched in 1994. Their bottles are quite interesting and different. They actually look like hand grenades!

The distillery is well-known for its Vintage expressions. The 1998 was the first Single Malt released by Malt Master Gordon Motion who replaced John Ramsay when the latter retired. It was also the first vintage that was designated as a vintage right after distillation. Before that, the vintage expressions were composed of existing stocks.


🍷  The Spirit:

The five pair of Stills possess Lyne arms with different angles. Together with a slow distillation process they produce a medium-bodied Fruity, Spicy, lightly peated Spirit. The Water is sourced from the Ardcanny Spring.


🌲  The Wood:

The 1998 Glenrothes matured in a mix of around 2/3 Ex-Bourbon casks and 1/3 of casks that were seasoned with Oloroso Sherry from three different producers in Jerez de la Frontera (Spain).

Drinking Experience: Okay/Good

Conclusion:

For the time being I'm not the # 1 fan of this Distillery. The 1998 is not really a bad Single Malt but it does suffer from slightly indifferent Cask Management. I know many people do not care a lot about Sulphur or don't even notice. But I'm not one of those I'm afraid. In the last 5 years I've become quite aware of the overwhelming importance of Wood and Wood treatment in making a good Single Malt. Without it you create a Whisky that might be an excellent ingredient for Blends but simply can't quite convince as a Single Malt. Glenrothes is a relative new-comer to the Single Malt market and profit wise their steady supply to the Blend Industry is probably much more important at the moment. I do hope however that times will change and that somewhere in the future we will be able to enjoy a well-matured 15 year old Glenrothes. The Spirit deserves it!

Jan van den Ende                                                               September 7, 2017

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: πŸ˜€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

Conclusion:

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