Diageo has released some special expressions from its popular Classic Malts of Scotland line up, under the banner ‘Distiller’s Edition’. They are praised by many whiskybuffs, which is reason enough for me to give them a go. Let’s start with this Lagavulin 1981 PX Distiller’s Edition, bottled in 2000.
The nose reveals the typical Lagavulin character: salt, sweet peat, cloves and a whiff of smoked beef with some citrus such as tangerines. But the sherry fights back valiantly, softening the nose in a very subtle way. With patience the nose suddenly turns into a very good, truly Italian espresso… Simply marvellous.
It is wonderfully creamy as it rolls over the tongue. Despite the spices, peat and (quite a bit of) smoke, it is perfectly balanced, with a bittersweet body – that even has a sour side. This is pretty amazing. I don’t even get a bite, by the way.
The magnificent finish is nutty with citrus fruit and wood (but certainly not oaky). At the death it suddenly turns very salty.
This Lagavulin is so-called ‘double matured’, because after a first period (I was unable to figure out how long exactly) on bourbon casks, it got a second maturation (or is that finish?) on a Pedro Ximenez sherry cask. If you ever wondered what the sweet sherry of PX can do to a classic peated Lagavulin, this 1981 Distiller’s Edition is the ultimate answer!
At Lagavulin they told me that their finishes usually are around two to three months (only)! Pretty big flavour infusion, I'd say...
Wow, that's hard to believe (not that I doubt your, @Sjoerd). In that case, this PX cask was phenomenal! This is definitely one of my favourite drams.