It’s almost like I’ve gone whisky meta. Or perhaps whisky transcendent is a better descriptor of my ambivalence towards whatever marketing trope a group comes up with in order to release a new whisky. I don’t know that anyone is bothered when Joe Schmo Distillery releases a new 8 year old bottling for no other reason than they had the stock and they wanted to make money. I accept that as a reality of the whisky business. And by implication when another distillery releases a new expression behind a marketing wall of some long, forgotten story such as Lagavulin did with their 8 year old expression a few years back, I felt…..nothing. Nothing at all stirred in my breast.
The only fact of note I wish to convey when it comes to Lagavulin 8 is the mere notion that it was indeed released to commemorate the distillery’s 200th anniversary a few years back. Okay, feel free to blast that all over the place, I get it. But it also was “inspired” by the story of the writer Alfred Bernard, who after visiting over 150 distilleries in the 1880’s, remarked that an 8 year old Lagavulin was the best he tasted out of them all. And lo, an excuse was born and a pile of cash was beheld. Inspiring, isn’t it. On to some particulars….
Now a permanent fixture in the Lagavulin line, the 8 year old expression comes to us priced slightly under the 16 year old, because of course it is. It is bottled at 48% and has no sherry finishing. Let’s see what he have here.
Nose- Typical industrial garage peat smoke. Metallic, smoky with some lemon. Black licorice with a wisp of vanilla sweetness. Faint barley feel. Olive and pears.
Taste- Light estery fruitiness. Watery peat. No complexity, just straight forward smoke with vanilla and honey, however light it is. Citrus peel and lavender.
Finish- Largely a repeat of the taste. Holding the whisky via the Patterson rule, in this case 8 seconds yields a fine representation of smoke and honey. Not bad. Sour bitterness with grapefruit rind. Medium length.
Comments- Not worth the extra dollars to persuade you away from Ardbeg 10, which I imagine is the primary competition of this 8 year old, but a fine addition to the Lagavulin line. I hope this new bottling doesn’t steal too much stock of the eventual 16, but no one listens to me.
SWC Rating- 81/100