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Classic of Islay (Lagavulin) #1964 vs Lagavulin 7 yo Jack Wieber vs Lagavulin 12 yo 2015 annual release

So I had done this over the weekend, figuring to put it aside as I just posted on the utterly bespoke Boyao Zhao, and really .. how many mad people love Lagavulin that much to hear about it again so soon ..

But I came home today to discover to my horror and churning rage, that someone, whose favourite drink is probably Rosé, had spread misinformation on the distillation and maturation practices at Lagavulin. Said person believes Lagavulin is a ‘neutral spirit factory’ that uses ‘5th fill casks’, while disingenuously lauding the actual neutral spirit factory at the other end of the island… you know that particular distillery which has shown a grand reliance on strange wine cask finishes for flavour…

I protest. I say for a modern whisky, Lagavulin is one of the very best makes around today. Few will compare in consistency and quality. The grizzly complexity of the 16 yo is heads and shoulders above most others in the same bracket. Not a fan of the Distiller’s Edition though.. Too much sherry coating. Said person should stick to wine if she likes wine.

Classic of Islay (Lagavulin) Jack Wieber #1964 57.3%

classicislay

Also dear Jack did manage to get hold of a number of casks of Lagavulin so you are likely to find different iterations of this expression. Unofficially maybe 7-8 year old.

Nose Nose: Newly opened bag of charcoal, charred wood, seawater. It’s a big nose that’s quite fat and wide, but not as brutal as expected. This one displays quite active wood. And its american oak for sure with these leathery sweet custard notes. Also for sure  Jack bottled it at an excellent time: Young yes but the wood doesn’t get much in the way of the Lagavulin heart: Big dirty earthy-herbal rubbery phenolics. Is Lagavulin consistent or what. Dry smoke and brine. Salty muddy nets. Good price too.

Taste Palate: Rather sweet actually. I mean a layer of wood-derived sweetness (caramel, white wood, mars bars) is apparent over the expected big Lagavulin salt-ash-phenolics. Also Lagavulin itself IS sweet by the way, and never neutral in a million years. Tad meaty even, wood smoked something. Simple and effective. does what it says and does it well.

Finish Finish: A little short – arrived a bit soon, salty, smoky peaty, the usual goodness.

Score90

 

 

Lagavulin 7 yo Jack Wieber ‘Racing Cars’ #22 57.9%

lagavulin-jwracing

Just for a comparison, I don’t think this is on sale but let’s see how consistent it gets.

Nose Nose: Lagavulin. Seawater, ash, crushed medicinal herbs, gritty grizzly Lagavulin phenolics, wet seaweed. Very little wood influence, so the essence of Lagavulin is on display and it is good stuff. Seems to be more briney and medicinal than the #1964

Taste Palate: Hot metal, and sweet peat. This one has everything expected that bears no repeating, but tends to be bigger on brine, lime leaf-smoked limes than outright phenols. Consistency!

Finish Finish: Medium, smokey and phenolic. Not as long as hoped for, but the quality is great.

Score90

 

Lagavulin 12 yo 2015 annual release 56.8%

lagavulin-12-2015

Nose Nose: Massive, despite the lower abv. Huge and cutting. Really sharp, pure testosterone. A much narrower leaner version of the Classic. Not as cutting as say the 2011. But it’s pure archetypal Lagavulin. This one has more dried lemons, even salted lemons. More fresh clean brine, white ash. Lagavulin’s fat dirty phenolics are everywhere. A gale at sea. A touch more medicinal tincture like the 7 yo but it’s a deeper, broodier. Everything is up front, but hey. Twelve years old man.  Brutal and unyielding to the Glenfiddich-only crowd. A work of art to me.

Taste Palate: No obvious wood in here as far as I can tell. What I get is big big salt, silt, and all those maritime notes. Rubber, ash and dry white smoke. Big bursting phenolics – those earthy, herby-mezcal like phenolics. I won’t pretend this has got the complexity of the 16, but if you are looking for the heart of Lagavulin, get the 12.

Finish Finish: Long, peaty ashy smoky still huge, not going away anytime soon.

Score95

This is really up there toe to toe with the very excellent Laphroaig 10 yo cask strength, I prefer this by a tiny bit I think.

 

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One comment on “Classic of Islay (Lagavulin) #1964 vs Lagavulin 7 yo Jack Wieber vs Lagavulin 12 yo 2015 annual release

  1. Carissa Hickling
    October 17, 2016

    Lagavulin just holds it own – period.

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This entry was posted on October 12, 2016 by in Lagavulin and tagged .
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