Lagavulin 8 years (200th anniversary ed.)

"From the first moment I opened the bottle, this little peater has captured my tongue and just one of the beste young spirits that I ever tasted"

(Photo from Whiskybase)

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About two years ago Lagavulin celebrated its 200th anniversary and obviously that occasion had to be accompanied by a celebratory bottling. Most of the times these special releases go with hand in hand with high prices and limited availability. This makes them primarily targets for collectors, bottle flippers and other people with more money available to buy booze than they can drink. Therefore, I was delighted to see that the people behind Lagavulin opted to release a fair quantity of an 8-year-old bottling that was also fairly priced, making it available for a large group of whisky enthusiasts. Last year, Lagavulin announced that the 8-year-old would become part of their standard range. However, I read that the quality of the regular might be below that of the celebratory version according to some. Luckily I was able to buy two bottles from the latter, and have been enjoying it on many occasions. In fact it has become one of my favourites. So I guess it became time that I wrote down something about this youngster.

Nose

It opens with a full, damp, but also fresh, dry sort of peat. Earthy, with notes of champignons, wet leather jackets, leaky old wooden sheds, and slightly vegetal, a herb garden after the rain. Well, it has been raining a lot here lately… What I really like is the range of subtleties that come forward when you sniff it for a few minutes. To me it does not feel that young, at least older than it is. Also very clean, reminds me of some mezcal that I tasted recently. Full of roots, a hint of ginger tea, moss, wet stones, and in between some slightly fruity notes, just noticeable, pears and sour apples. Wood from a extinguished fire after a sudden rain shower. Notes fresh green tea, faint hints of citrus fruits, and peanut butter, I didn’t expect that.

Taste

So lovely right from the start with lots of potency and a good amount of freshness. Different sorts of peat, fresh roots, smoked dragon (I mean the herb, not some creature from GOT), fennel, and more undefined smoked herbs. A few drops of pear juice and a hint of apple skin. Yes it is young, but so well balanced and already reaching a fair amount of complexity. Burned grasses, smoked herbs, hints of smoked fish, I think mackerel, and more salty notes coming through. Sandy sea water, more smoky salty fish, a few olives. Oh yeah.

Overall

From the first moment I opened the bottle, this little peater has captured my tongue. Perfect strength, perfect complexity for this age, just probably one of the beste young spirits that I ever tasted. An awesome selection by the people at Lagavulin to prove that they make one of the best spirits currently available (but that is just my humble opinion, of course). Leave out the wide range of unnecessary releases matured in some overly active exotic wine or brandy cask, just focus on the distillate. Perhaps an example for some other distilleries? Anyway, I should stop babbling and pour another glass of this wonderful spirit…

What others say

Whiskybase: 87.47 (19 votes) * Serge Valentin @Whiskyfun: 90/100 * @Whiskynotes: 88/100 * @TheWhiskeyWash: 95/100 * @WorldWhisky: 8.1/10 * @Malt-Review: 5/10 * @TheWhiskeyJug: 83-86/100
Read for yourself

A bottle was purchased from

Scores

these are my personal views, so do not take them too seriously… nothing beats tasting these for yourself •

Cask influence
20%
Peat/smoke
55%
  • Earth
  • Varieties of peat
  • Roasted herbs
Nose 91%
Taste 90%
Balance 91%
Depth 89%
Finish 88%
Score