Though as pale as ever, this Lagavulin is hardly in need of a Charles Atlas course. The nose is ozonic, like rock pools at low tide with kelp splattered around. Sweetness comes in the form of cloudy apple juice and a smokehouse kipperiness. The palate is explosive, with masses of retronasal action showing violet root, thyme, juniper, tarragon/fennel, and a finish akin to smoked cheese. An improvement on the 2012 release. - Dave Broom
There’s precious little reticence about this beast, which leaps out of the glass blowing peat smoke everywhere - then comes raffia, Lapsang Souchong tea, seashore, wet rocks, Elastoplast, talcum powder, bog myrtle (laurel), vetiver, and the aromas of a just-expunged peat bonfire with apples baking on it. Huge and complex, in other words. The palate starts with a fug of smoke being belched at you (non-peat freaks look away, now) then distinct saltiness enlivens the tongue before everything plunges down; intense sweetness takes charge for a moment before it shifts into charred creosoted timbers. This begs for some water, and when it’s added, out comes sandalwood and peat smoke and tar and an orris root-like character - it’s not often I get gin-like notes on Lagavulin, but it’s here - which rolls over you as you roll over and succumb to its power. After this year’s sublime distillery-only bottling, it’s clear that Lagavulin is in a real purple patch. Superb. - Dave Broom
APPEARANCE :Deep amberNOSE :A typically full-on Lagavulin nose that also shows great finesse, with less ripe fruit than earlier bottlings. Bergamot scented wood-smoke surrounds a sophisticated complex of sweeter aromas; smooth and creamy toffee sauce on digestive biscuits with shavings of milk chocolate. Later, appetising lemon and white pepper notes. With water, the aromas embrace toasted cereal and take on a roasted, nutty quality but the fragrant smoke always returns.BODY :MediumPALATE :Dusty, very sweet, then positively smoky, as with roasted chestnuts from a street vendor on a winter’s morning; Or a real-wood fired pizza with fresh pesto and pine kernels. Leaves the tongue tingling. Cleaner with water, which brings a smooth mouth feel and sophisticated smoke.FINISH :Long and smoky, with large amounts of exquisite smoke and a fragrant smoky aftertaste. Toasted sesame seeds and basil. Water brings out Indian spices (roasted cumin).
Lagavulin is produced by White Horse Distillers which is owned by United Distillers & Vinters which in turn is owned by Diageo plc. Lagavulin was chosen to represent Islay Single Malts in UDV's Classic Malts of Scotland. The distillery of Lagavulin officially dates from 1816, though records show illicit distillation on the site as far back as 1742. Originally there were two distilleries operating on this site, the first established in 1816 believed to be named "Kildalton" the second in 1817 and named Lagavulin. By 1837 there was only the one distillery "Lagavulin" occupied by Donald Johnston. The still house was rebuilt in 1962 and incorporated the stills of Malt Mill and in 1996 a new mashtun was installed, and automated controls put in place. The visitor centre dates back to 1998 and was established in the buildings that once were the maltings and kiln of Malt Mill.