So much whisky, so little time | Singapore | Tasting Notes

Lagavulin Feis Ile 2013 vs Lagavulin Jazz Festival 2013

Feis Ile is an annual Islay Festival that draws crowds to an otherwise much quieter Islay to celebrate music, Scottish culture and especially in the last decade, the whisky of the island. It’s not new – May 2017 is it’s 31st iteration, but in whisky circles it has gained much fame for the special releases Islay distilleries put out for walk in visitors during the festival. The Lagavulin Jazz Festival occurs 5 months later in September, and one might say it is a little more niche with its focus on traditional/folk music and Jazz. From its name you can tell Diageo is a major sponsor and despite the typical criticisms often levelled at such a corporate player, I think people tend to forget the ways it gives back. Lagavulin also *usually* has a Jazz Festival release for the occasion – not always as they missed the 2014, much to my sorrow as I had hoped to get a couple when I was there. Note that the outturn for the Feis Ile bottles are usually larger than for the Jazz Festival.

Lagavulin 18yo 1995 / 2013 for Feis Ile 2013 51%

I have a couple of these and have already tried this one – so it’s here more as a curiosity against the Jazz Festival.

 Nose: Very Lagavulin, I remember it was very true to its distillery style (for that, try the 12 yo!) but the sherry influence is also clear with this creamy oak and wood tannins. A clear link to the 16. Seaweed, grizzly earthy and wet notes like muddy rubber boots and an open pit fire billowing dry black smoke. Full of these dirty-pungent green notes and brine. Despite the sherry influence and without using the word pristine, the clear distillery character definitely won out in this one.

 Palate: Very similar. But lots more wood, some bung cloth and warehouse floor. A more obvious menthol, diesel smoke and lots of wood spices, herbaceous bark and juniper. Tannins. Loads of salt spray and dry black smoke. Again the sherry doesn’t outwrestle the Lagavulin.

 Finish: Wood tannins dry smoke, herbal bitters, muddy seashore.


Lagavulin 18 yo 1995 / 2013 for Jazz Festival 2013 51.9% ‘Hand Selected Casks’

 Nose: Very similar – Lagavulin is consistent! – but this one has a a deeper richness and deeper buzzing spiciness. Those must have been very good casks Pinkie chose. This one seems to have a certain concentration to it with  these louder dirty herbal notes which sort of span between medicinal and dry, and an overt brininess, plus the richness of the sherry maturation.

 Tongue:  As expected, very similar again though it seems to me more expressive than the Feis Ile, and a level richer and deeper but still redolent with the base ‘Lagavulin’ with volumes of dry smoke and dirty herbals, mud and sea. Wood is really loud but balanced. Fantastic taste, Iain.

 Finish: Dry smoke, deep lingering richness, dirty seashore again, tannins. This wins out over the Feis Ile but both are great because Lagavulin is great. By the way, I love Lagavulin.



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This entry was posted on November 19, 2017 by in Lagavulin and tagged , , .
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