Our host Barış Kuleli prepared a generous table of appetisers. Plus our whiskies made the difference. The line up consisted of Lagavulin 12 Cask Strength, Lagavulin 16, Lagavulin Distillers Edition (1995-2013) and Feis Ile Lagavulin 18.
We started the tasting with Lagavulin Distillers Edition. It was put into casks in 1995 and bottled in 2013. It is a matter to find this expression since the market is full of the new 16 year old edition. Pedro Ximenez casks make the difference for this whisky. From the moment it was poured into glasses we could smell the difference. Raisins and dry fruits excels as it is balanced with peat underneath. Oak touches the spirit smoothly and adds a soothing character. Palate is very soft and creamy. Pepperish notes can be felt in front of the tounge and at the back of throath. Vanilla and black currant covers the mouth. Finish is medium long and carries oaky, spicy and fruity notes.
After adding some water, peat comes to front on nosing. Palate becomes more creamy and bodily.
Second whisky of the night was a popular one, Lagavulin 16. Peat jumps out of the bottle as the cap is removed. Vanilla, iodine, dry grape layer, sherry and dry plums brings out a harmony. It has an explosive and bodily character in palate with an oily texture. Along with the sweet notes, black pepper, figs and oak are really good balanced. Finish is long, warm and lingering.
Third of the tour is Lagavulin 12 Cask Strength which was bottled in 2014. Matured in re-fill American oak casks, it was one of the stars of the night. The next step of Lagavulin 8 I have tasted last week. It has 54.5% ABV and releases peat aromas which are really optimised. A dense iodine smell with citrus, toffee, medicinal notes and matchbox trace. Alcohol does not feel that strong and herbal tastes are there for sure like mint and basil. At the very behind of mouth you can feel mocha and BBQ smoke. Finish has sea effect with a medium-long length giving the touch of black pepper. A wonder one.
Last whisky of the night was Lagavulin 18 which was bottled for Feis Ile 2016. We had one of the 6000 bottles, which is quite lucky. It is finished in Bodega sherry casks and has 49.5% ABV. Like a beautiful perfume, it just didn’t allow us to sip it at that moment. We waited long enough to appreciate it. Flowets and fruits takes the scene firstly. A bit of peat touch can be felt. Not like the classic Lagavulin, instead it was really different. Sea weed, medicinal smell, almond aromas are there for you to sniff. I can call it ‘fresh’ since it has citrus, vanilla, basil, nutmeg, apple peel notes. Finish is pleasantly long with citrus, nectar and wine touch. Pricy but worth it!
I can’t recall another tasting I had this much of fun lately. These drams made me forget my tired body after a week of tiring travel. Can’t wait for the next gathering. Let me give a shot of the food too.