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This is an abidged version of a review from my blog
I love Lagavulin. What can I possibly say about Lagavulin that I haven't already said or written? If you know me, or if you have ever read my blog, you undoubtedly know about my irrational and somewhat obsessive love for this nectar of the gods. So how is the Distillers Edition different from the "standard" 16?
- Nose (undiluted): classic Lagavulin smoke and peat, with that maritime (brine, seaweed) iodine note, developing some sweet sherry with dark fruit (dates) and fresh tobacco (cigar)
- Palate (undiluted): rich and full-bodied, sweet arrival and dates developing quickly to Lagavulin smoke and peat, a bit of leather and black pepper, with more cigar notes
- Finish: long, smoky, some dark chocolate and coffee notes, with brine and tobacco lingering
Adding water initially brings out much more maritime character on the nose. You get hit with the briny, iodine smell of seaweed washed up on the shore, and more sherry fruitiness. Left to sit for another 5-10 minutes, the brininess gets toned down a bit and the big sherry nose is back, mingling with the beach smells. The flavour on the palate is not as immediately sweet once water is added, but is just as rich and unctuous. The first thing you taste by adding water is wood smoke, developing to sweet sherry, dark fruit and chocolate. The finish is a touch less smoky with water, but the dark chocolate is far more apparent. As odd as it sounds (or pretentious, depending on your point of view), adding water didn't change the aromas and flavours as much as it re-ordered and re-focused them. Either way, this Distillers Edition is a dram to linger over. A bit sweeter and more complex than the standard 16; different, not better or worse. Minor gripes:
- Bottled at 43% ABV. I would have liked to taste this between 48%-50%
- Added E150A: why? I find it unnecessary and who insists on it at this price point?
- Chill-filtered: see previous point.
Still an absolutely terrific dram.