Origin: Islay (Scotland)
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Ageing caska: Ex-Bourbon refill and virgin
Added colouring: No
Average pice: € 180.00
Official website: www.malts.com
Third bottling of 2022 Special Releases with another of the highly anticipated distilleries in the group. Last year Lagavulin had the honour of a double release, this year we are back to just the ‘classic’ twelve years, and the evocative label recalls the legend of the rebirth of the King of Islay. A spark of sunlight fell from the sky and set the earth ablaze, and when the flames subsided, the scorched earth was veiled in thick smoke. Suddenly, a new life rose from the ashes, wrapped in glittering feathers of gold and crimson: a regal Phoenix (no, Teeling had nothing to do with it) soared on its wings of fire, powering the stills of Lagavulin, amplifying its spicy intensity.
Second-fill ex-Bourbon casks combined with uncommon virgin casks, with their ‘most peated distillate ever’.
Pungent, arboreal peat on the nose, which squeezes forest evocations into fleshy, spicy puffs of smoke, where nutmeg meets bacon, grilled fruit (pineapple, apple, blood orange) meets roasted chestnuts, while roasted malt and wood hop among the aromas with warm lust. Over time it mellows a little, with the emergence of cooked cream and a slight coastal influence. Attractive.
On the palate, it picks up the barbecue tones with sparkling joyfulness, sweet liquorice and black pepper propping up bacon and grilled fruit in a bitter-sweet and spicy compote, with definite citrus (orange and lemon) and maritime veins, at times medicinal, and vegetal and earthy hints. A balsamic trait insinuates itself into a lemon curd tartlet, with a dense and persistent thread of smoke along the length on a bed of malt biscuits.
The finish is long and very spicy, with saline (but not too much) hints on grilled citrus and pineapple, toasted wood, malt.
An interesting variation on the Lagavulin theme, with the virgin casks adding balsamic and vegetal touches, perhaps lacking depth and overdoing the spicy side. The quality of the distillate is unquestionable, and you can feel it, but it lacks a spark to excel.