Origin: Isle of Islay (Scotland)
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Ageing casks: European and American oak, ex-Armagnac
Added colouring: No
Average price: € 250.00
Official website: www.malts.com
Another round on Islay for this year’s Fèis Ìle, with the bottling made by Lagavulin initially only at the distillery as of the 27 May open day, then becoming available just about everywhere at even more ridiculous prices than the starting one: in a place on Islay they were asking as much as £70 for a dram!
Matured in unspecified European and American oak casks with an unprecedented refinement for the distillery in ex-Armagnac casks, chosen by distillery manager Jordan Paisley, and bottled after fourteen years at cask strength in 3,024 bottles.
Fleshy peat with brackish veins on the nose, lots of spicy barbecue (paprika, pepper, ginger) and burnt wood accompanied by orange, grapefruit, pineapple, toasted hazelnuts and burnt marshmallow. Along the length, a sweet and sour note of currants and goji berries emerges and tends to become dominant. Alcohol completely absent. Curious.
On the palate, it’s even sweeter, almost cloying, with the peat still in the foreground but with more vegetal and acrid rather than carnivorous ambitions, with the saline part veering more towards brine and a pronounced spiciness. Caramel and salted butter biscuits, candied orange and pineapple, caramelised apple, cocoa. Along the length, a vein of bergamot and artichoke comes through, a little unbalanced compared to the other flavours.
Long ashtray finish used with mineral and fruity notes, sweet and salty.
The finishing has brought something, but not necessarily in a positive way: if it is quite inviting on the nose, in the mouth it wavers between the excesses of sweet and bitter, a little undecided which way to go. Interesting, perhaps even amusing, but a little short for such an exclusive edition.