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Lagavulin 1999 Distillers Edition / Bot.2015

Taming the Beast

4 694

@OdysseusUnboundReview by @OdysseusUnbound

14th Jul 2017


  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

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.

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Nozinan commented

Nice review. Lag 16 is one of the few Scotches I've enjoyed (when from a good bottle) at 43%, so I'm curious about this one. But at that price I'm happy to remain curious...

4 years ago 1Who liked this?

OdysseusUnbound commented

@Nozinan Yeah, it was pricy. Objectively speaking, was it worth $35 more than the 16? Probably not. Do I regret buying it? Absolutely not. The best part about this or any Lagavulin is the smell from a freshly opened bottle. It just doesn't get any better for me. We humans are funny little monkeys and Lagavulin is just one of my weak spots. Now if I could get my fat little monkey paws on a bottle of the 12 Year Old......

4 years ago 0

Nozinan commented

@OdysseusUnbound you just need a trip to Toronto and you can drink FROM a bottle of the 12...

4 years ago 1Who liked this?

MadSingleMalt commented

As always, solid & amusing content over at ontarioscotchlover.blogspot.ca

I always figured this would be a bottle that I'd never try due to its killer combo of high price & low ABV. But then I found that deal at Astor Wines last month and pounced on this for a mere $72. I can't wait to try it.

4 years ago 1Who liked this?

OdysseusUnbound commented

@MadSingleMalt Thanks for the kind words. I don't think you'll be disappointed with this whisky. The smoke is still there, but I found it was the vegetal, iodine-ish peat (and seaweed?) that was toned down (or tamed) by the sherry influence. I agree that this would undoubtedly be better at around 48% ABV, but then so would standard Lag 16, imho.

4 years ago 1Who liked this?

Taco commented

The DE is my fourth choice of the four Lagavulins available in our area. Not that it's bad, but the 12 is fantastic ($100), the 16 consistently great ($70), and the 8 very good for the price ($55). The DE I like about the same as the 8, but it's about $80-$85 here. Still very good whisky, but Lagavulin has such a solid lineup that this one stays on the bench.

4 years ago 1Who liked this?

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