By Emma Briones
In 2016, the Lagavulin distillery turned 200 years old. To celebrate the occasion, they launched a set of anniversary limited editions, and among them was the Lagavulin 8 year old.
The Lagavulin 8 year old is a tribute to Alfred Barnard, a Victorian whisky writer. In the 19th century, Barnard wrote “The Whisky Distilleries of the United Kingdom”, where he described his trip around Islay, among others. It was then that he tasted an 8 year old Lagavulin and fell in love with the dram.
This story serves as an excuse for Lagavulin to go out its common age range with a younger whisky. Matured in second-fill barrels of both American and European oak, Lagavulin 8 year old has been bottled at 48% volume.. It has not been chill-filtered and has been bottled at its natural color.
Packed in its classic Lagavulin bottle, in the glass the Scotch is pale yellow. On the nose, it starts mixing smoky peat scents with sweet malt and caramel notes. It continues with fresh and grassy notes, followed by a touch of sea salt and a hint of spice. There is also a fruitier side, with ripe pears, and subtle citrus notes.
On the palate is fresh and bold. There are sea notes with touches of iodine and salt, like a beach bonfire. Smoky and spicy, it is well-balanced with its sweeter side. Peat and malt are mixed with fruity notes. There are ripe pears and lemon zest that melt into the smoky side of the dram.
The finish is really long and dry. Little by little, the sweet notes disappear, leaving a finish full of smoke and with a gentle spicy touch.
Launching an edition much younger than your common range was a bold move from Diageo. And they did it with success. The price might be a little high, but it is understandable as it is an anniversary limited edition.
Lagavulin 8 is a fresh and audacious whisky. Perfectly balanced, keeps the distillery’s character. It is a clean dram, in which the peat doesn’t take all the limelight and nuances can be appreciated. It would be a great addition to the Lagavulin standard range.
Lagavulin 8 year old is widely available though it is a limited edition. In the UK it’s retailed around £70, with prices varying in the rest of Europe (€55 to €70). In the U. S., it is priced around $80.