Sunday, August 14, 2016
Any single malt under ten years of age makes me shiver. Scotch needs time in the cask to soften it up. A lot of time is needed to tame the bite of the white dog, the smoke, the peat and iodine of the sea when dealing with Islay. So, I viewed this recent release from the Lagavulin distillery with some trepidation. I wanted it to be good because I like and respect the 16 year old so much. But, bottling whisky from the same distillery at half the age? That is fraught with danger!
Bottled at ABV 48% made me think this is gonna be really strong and in need of water. It was aged in refill American and European oak casks. Holding the glass up, I notice it is very pale which to me suggests no artificial coloring, but apparently this is not true. I have read that it is colored with E150. Oh well, you purists can stop reading now, but for the rest of whisky tramps, read on!
From the first sip I was hooked. It may be 48% ABV but sure was smooth like the coat of a well groomed Doberman, without the bite. While it was peated and smoked with mackerel notes, there were also intriguing dark red fruits making an appearance. Complexity abounds. There is a sweetness of the smoke and iodine that intertwines with dark plum, fig and even some citrus notes. I added water, maybe a little too much on a second glass and kinda diluted it a bit too much. Water should be administered in drops.
This is a great place for a novice wondering about Islay whiskies. It is also a great place for a mangy old whisky dawg like me.
At half the price or lower than the 16, Lagavulin 8 years is highly recommended!