Thursday, September 21, 2017

Whisky Review: Lagavulin 8 years single malt Scotch

Scotch Whisky Review
 Lagavulin 8 years 

Single Malt  

Port Ellen, on the Isle of Islay 

Age Statement
 8 years 

Cork Stopper


Limited Edition 
20,000 bottles released to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the distillery. 

Varies widely, but in New Hampshire I paid $60. Reasonable but I have seen some very high prices elsewhere in excess of $100 (not reasonable). 

Wood Management 
Aged exclusively in refill bourbon casks. No ex-sherry casks involved. 

Nose (undiluted) 
Without water, the aromas that lift out of your glass are delightful. Minty, hickory wood, seaside bonfire, hint of banana and lemons too. Add water and these aromas are blurred. 

Palate (diluted) 
You really have to add some water given the 48% ABV. With a little water you will get big time salt, loads of hard, coarse salt, custard and of course smoke and peat. There are green minty notes with wet wood smoke too. 

Finish (diluted) 
Dry zing of black peppercorns, dry ginger, camphor, menthol and phenolic notes abound. 

General Impressions
This is a bold expression from the Lagavulin distillery that serves up lively peat and smoke, lemon zest and banana, plus some wood char. It is really comparable in taste to Ardbeg 10 or Laphroaig Quarter Cask.

Lagavulin 8 years is a youthful, robust peat bomb in a glass. Do not think of this whisky as a younger version of Lagavulin 16 years. They are very different whiskies.

Definitely peat and smoke fans of Islay malts will enjoy, but if Islay malts are not your cup of tea, then probably best to avoid this expression and opt for something that is gentler like an easy going blend (Islay Mist, White Horse, etc.). Personally, I prefer a more refined taste of the 16 year old Lagavulin, but that is a different malt all together given the aging in sherry casks and much older malts. 

Thanks for reading! 




  1. 100$ for the 8yr old or 120$ for 16yr... seems the folk at Diageo are money grabbing this ''special release'' all the way to the bank... yes a higher ABV but come on! I'D say use the 100$ and try something NOT from the big guys: Bunna Ceobanach - great complexity despite being a NAS, big peat notes, salt, and citrus too and no chill filtering or caramel color.

    1. Like I said in the review, this Lagavulin 8 years is all over the place in terms of pricing. I paid $65 and for that price it is definitely worth it, but not at $100. Bunnahabhain CeĆ²banach would be the better option at $100 for the reasons you pointed out.

      Thanks for commenting! Hope all is well!

  2. Getting hard to spot down here in Aus now... Glad I tried it when I did. Would I buy again....? Would need to be on special... even then I'd have to think long and hard... There are more out there to try around the same price.. Did enjoy it though...

    AL (from OZ)

    1. I am not a huge Ardbeg 10 or Laphroaig Quarter Cask fan and so while I appreciate the Lagavulin 8 years, I probably would not buy it again.

  3. Hi Jason. At my last Flight Club Aug 25 we had 18 malts represented (over $1200 bar), including the Lag 8, Ardbeg 10 and Laph QC. The Lag is much lighter peat side by side with those two but smokier. Also quite fruity inside all the smoke, especially the lemons you mention and kind of apricotty. Very well done for 8 yrs and only $54 in Chicago. Two major hits of the night, the Caol Illa 17 unpeated an absolutely great scotch by lovers of all styles but it aught to be at $150+; also the Old Pulteney Navigator, about $50, continues to impress all since it arrived at our June club (on our second bottle), very intense vanilla salty malt mellowed by sweet sherry that just keeps getting better every time I try it; great Highland alternative for the Islay Peat Heads and works super well as a lead in to the Lag 8 when we move to the firepit with a cigar. Best regards, Ken.

    1. Sounds like a great night was had by all. Especially retiring to the fire-pit with cigar in hand.

  4. FYI - the lineup at Flight Club Aug 25: Caol Illa 17 Unpeated, Arran Machrie Moor, Ardbeg 10, Laphroaig 10, Lagavulin 8, Laphroaig QuarterCask, Glenrothes Vintage 2001, Trader Joe's Speyside 18, Glenlivet 12, Balvenie 14 Carribean Cask, Craigellachie 13, Aberlour Abundah Lot 56, Aberlour Abundah Lot 54, Glendronach 12, Compass Box Oak Cross, Talisker Distiller's Edition, Old Pulteney Navigator, Dalwhinnie 15.

  5. Yeah.... That's all I can say... Wow !


  6. Thanks for the awesome Whisky review! I must try that Whisky.

  7. Great review! I'd certainly go for a price like this as long as it meets my expectation, and even if it disappoints a bit, it's not too pricey unlike others.