"In late Summer 2007, word broke that Lagavulin would be releasing a 21 year-old version from first-fill sherry casks. At cask strength. For (in the U.S.) about 300 bucks. Of all those things, which one do you think was not exciting news?"
That's what we wrote in early 2008. As of early 2013, people would be happy to pay $300 for this bottling!
It's also interesting to note that this was advertised as "the last fully sherried release" of Lagavulin. Yet in 2012, another 21-year-old was released, again with full maturation in sherry casks.
One of those privileged whiskies that makes me think, "Easy A." The question is, is it A+? This is blissfully amazing, rich, complex, and... yeah, I love it. Waves and waves of rolling phenols -- smoky, medicinal, earthy, rich sweet yumminess. The sherry that's present melds in a way that doesn't scream sherry, but instead combines with everything else to create new distinct and rich flavors. This is a freight train, a tornado of deep rich flavor. Definitely one of my top all-time whiskies.
N: Initially just smoke, then deeper peat, caramelized fruit, and rum-like spice. Invigorating. P: An explosion of smoke and peat that reveals itself in waves. A thick syrupy sweetness develops. Wonderfully balanced and endlessly complex. F: Evaporative. Excellent. An almost perverse pleasure every time I have it.
N: Smokey and peaty. Nice! P: Peat! Plus a little smoked fish, smoked meat and smoked smoke. F: Medium and, guess what, smokey.
Maybe I'm just a cheap date, but I like the Lag 16 better. This is amazing peated whisky, but not ten times better than the Laphroaig 10 or three times better than one of the Port Charlottes. The Lag 16 just seems more balanced and interesting to me. This is a little one-note. Then again, it might be because I tasted it after five sherried whiskeys, and I certainly wouldn't turn down a bottle if someone gave it to me.
Stong, peat/iodine nose, which eventually reveals some hints of caramel/sherry. Initially there is pure peat and smoke in the mouth, which then gives way to some late fruit/floral flavors. The finish was a bit abrupt and then disappeared, which I found a bit odd. I really, really enjoyed this other than the finish. Overall, an excellent bottle.
This one lived up to every bit of the hype. Might be the best whisky I have ever tasted.....
The deepest campfire smoke and peaty greatness with so many earthy tones and sweet nuttiness and shortbread rounded out with vanillas and wood resin .... every bit worth the extra dollars to have around. Getting one is becoming harder and harder.
N: Warm sherry and smokey peat. There's loads of cured meats, charred bacon and dried herbs followed by a smoldering campfire and smoke from freshly struck matches. The lush sherry fruit component is detectible and mixes wel with medicinal stuff (iodine and bandaids). It's one of those noses where you find something new each time you come back to it.
P: The palate does not disappoint and the peat is much sharper and refined here. Full bodied and oily with loads of smoked meats. There is a great underlying sweetness that coats your mouth and plays well with the spicy peat.
F: The sherry fruits are almost caramelized and burnt leaving a sweet yet dark smoky finish that lingers. Wait... this is chewy and sticky. I can still taste it, even minutes after finishing it. This is great stuff.
The hype behind this bottle has been a little out of control. I was really starting to worry that I was being setup for a letdown. Nope. Should've trusted the good old LAWS boys.
After the first whiff, I'm pretty sure I silently mouthed "WTF?!", as I became completely overwhelmed by what seemed to be a "best of" montage, a highlight reel, if you will, of all that I love about Scotch. After I finish groping the glancairn with my nose for about 10 mins, I finally dive in. At the time of tasting, I wrote about this potent potion as "magical". I did dare to carefully add a couple drops of water, which really did expand it's possiblities. It's a spicy, fruity, peaty treat. I think about a spiced Christmas creme brulee, fragrant cinnamon candles, gingerbread cookies - but all that with a smoky hint, eating it all at a campfire.
The finish on this sucker is neverending. It's really quite impressive, probably the best finish I've ever experienced.
Just beautiful. Dark amber color. Gets essentially everything right in the sherry, smoke, peat balance. The flavors all come together so perfectly. I can't add anything else to what others have said, but this is one worth seeking out. [1/4/13]