About this blog:

This blog will feature tasting notes, reviews, distillery visits and whisky news with focus mainly on Scottish single malts. This will sometimes be accompanied by politically incorrect (whisky) opinions. You have now been warned! :-)
The views expressed here are entirely my own, unless otherwise stated.

Friday, 3 January 2014

HAPPY NEW YEAR + LAGAVULIN 1985 21YO - DISTILLERY BOTTLING

It's been a week long break for me - something I really didn't intend for to happen this year, but it did... The period around Xmas and New Years this year has -more than other years- set some thoughts for the future on a more personal level in motion, and this is the reason why I haven't updated for 1 week now.

As many others have done, I've also looked back at the whisky year and realised that tasting wise it has been another great year - as has it with an excellent Spirit of Speyside Festival in May 2013 - an event where I also had some of the whiskies that stood out for me in 2013... and 3 of these were from the same bottler and the same new series - well done!

These were (in no particular order):

  • Highland Park 1988 25yo, Cadenhead Small Batch
  • Glenlivet 1970 43yo, Cadenhead Small Batch
  • Glenfarclas 1973 Family Cask Release VIII, Distillery bottling
  • Bunnahabhain 1973 40yo, Archives
  • Caperdonich 1977 35yo, Cadenhead Small Batch
  • Glendronach 1972 cask sample at the distillery
The above is certainly owed to Mark Watt, now at Cadenheads!

Best distillery tour/tasting at the Spirit of Speyside Festival 2013 is a tie, I'm afraid...
  • Glendronach Connoisseurs Tour - available all year, btw...
  • Glenfarclas Family Cask Tasting (Every decade starting 1953, 63, 73, etc.)
Sadly, 2013 has also been the year where prices have really taken off, skyrocketed, one might even argue. Now I can start a huge rant on pricing, but I won't (I'll just make it short, haha).

Instead, I'll post a plea to the producers - let the prices match what you put in the bottles and don't expect us to pay a premium for whiskies with no age on, when you've always 'tought' us that 'older is better'...

That said, new whisky drinkers won't mind, 'cause they don't know better, but if you also want continued support from more discerning whisky drinkers, do not overdo this, please... I acknowledge that we're not you main target group for your product, but we're the reason you're still here - carrying you through the years when whisky wasn't the favourite tipple.

I'll now do a review of a proper New Years Dram ;-)


Lagavulin Distillery, an Islay icon, May 6th 2011 © The Malt Desk

Lagavulin 1985/2007 21yo 56,5%, Ex-European oak sherry casks, Distillery bottling

Colour is dark amber

Nose:
Farmyard and medium strength peat meets your nose. Then oils, heavy stuff, burnt engine oil comes to mind, burnt oranges, a hint of matches in the background, getting minty and salty. This one is changing all the time... amazing stuff! The sherry oak shows itself even more with quite a vinous side after a while, but settling down again only  to produce a sweet nutty side along with hints of herbs and cold meats

Taste:
Heavy Lagavulin oil, like the 16yo on steroids, peat and lovely sherry in measures just tipping to the vinous side. Also a hint of matches here, but adding to the whole very powerful experience. Also huge amounts of peppery spices in there, reduced vinegar, that dirty engine oil again, the peat is much more present that one would expect - excellent cask influence giving tobacco, a dash of oak, salty meats. Orange marmalade on burned toast. A winter warmer for sure!

91/100!

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