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Lagavulin 21 Year Old

Average score from 3 reviews and 6 ratings 95

Lagavulin 21 Year Old

Product details

  • Brand: Lagavulin
  • Bottler: Distillery Bottling
  • ABV: 56.5%
  • Age: 21 year old
  • Vintage: 1985
  • Bottled: 2007
  • Bottles: 6642

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Lagavulin 21 Year Old

From a purchased sample:

Nose: Rich, golden, and decadent. Dense and complex. Most obviously sticky sweet (heavy molasses, honey, and oily toffee), without being over the top. The sherry influence gives off subtle tobacco and echoes of fruit. The peat emerges and recedes. At times it's like kippers and the most perfect sardines (canned and freshly smoked). Very slight sulfur, though, admittedly, I'm not sensitive to it. I don't want to put down my glass. Everything evolves and changes. The balance, density, and quality is superb. Leather, cocoa, menthol (Vick's vapo-rub), ginger, lingonberries (tart 'red'), and camphor. Pinch of high quality salt with honey and ham. (with water) Far more mossy and sea-weed. The fruit and toffee notes fade. Still golden.

Palate: Thick liqueur on the palate. Immediately on honey, ginger, salt, leather, and caramel with some coffee and sticky pudding. The peat comes out, inevitably, like flames from smouldering embers. Really about the same as the nose, perhaps more gentle than I'd have expected, but no wall-flower this. Fabulous. (with water) Swims well. Peat is more prominent, and the thick, chewiness dissipates. More ashy, but the honeyed and salty notes still persist in the background.

Finish: What's left to say? The notes probably will remind people of the 16 or Distillers Edition, and for good cause. That's all in here, though the age and sherry maturation gives it much more heft, depth, and richness. The quality is top notch. Water, for me, undid some of what made it special, but it's a clear winner. My notes left me all over the place, so I'll pick a 'safe' score for it - depending on mood or my perspective on taking it with water, this could go up or down 1-2 points.

Thanks for the wonderful review. Is this from a sample or a bottle you have? I would love to know the bottle number if you have it. I have bottle #5868 of 6642. I am saving it for a very special occasion. Most reviews, like yours, praise the power and complexity of this bottle. A few reviewers talk about the sulfur. Mr. Murray (ultra sensitive to sulfur) doesn't mention it. I wonder if it crept into the American 750mL release (which I have) near the end of the bottling line . . . just curious.

Thanks, @Pierre_W and @Nock! It really was special, and the best Lagavulin that I've had, though, admittedly, there are so very, very many that I've yet to try.

@Nock, this was a sample from a European bottle, but I don't have the specific bottle number (from where I purchased the sample -- it just lists the bottle as being 70cL). I could also imagine that those sulfur notes dissipate with some oxygen (per Whiskynotes's recent revisit to it). I might have been more 'sensitive/aware' of it because I'd been drinking some Karuizawa with sulfury notes over a few days prior to this pour.


I bought a sample or two of this because I was pretty curious about it. I've got a bottle of the 1985 original, but haven't tried it. By most accounts, this was supposed to be a bit less obviously/heavily sherried, more finesse than power. All the same, it's hard to go wrong with Lagavulin.

Nose: Peat, camphor, medicinal, and good salty brine. Really reminds me of the usual Lagavulin profile at this point, even without the usual oxidized sherry element. Suddenly, emerging from behind the curtain, comes some red fruit - it's the sherry! It takes some time to develop, but it comes through and turns to oranges, red grapefruit, and red currants. Something rather plastic, rags damp from petrol. Mint, red sweets, all-spice, a really dry sweetness. It's no sherry bomb, and nothing overwhelms. Finesse is a pretty good way to think of this. Reminds me of a tighter, more elegant version of the Lagavulin DE.

Palate: Medium-body. Honeyed, bitter ginger root, tobacco, pinch of pepper. Polish and very heavy leather (it's good) that leaves an imprint. Ashy, and a bit cool. Sea-weed and good ol' peat.

Finish: The sherry returns a bit with the salted meats, dates/figs, dark chocolate malt, and coffee notes. Peat remains lightly smokey and very much like antiseptic.

This is very good, and I do like the more clear red and orange fruit compared to the 16, though the '95 DE was a bit sweeter. It's elegant and very well composed. A- (pick a number)

I like this a lot. But, in the scheme of things, is it worth $600? It's really great, and I'm glad for getting the samples because I don't see myself paying that type of cash for this expression, especially when you can get the DE without too much trouble. To be fair, this is a much cleaner and precise profile, and it's got a bit more balance, but it also lacked the power and seductive chewiness that I love about the 16 and DE.


Lagavulin. A lot of us peat lovers adore the 16 year old, with it’s perfect harmony, wonderful nose and palate, and good price (for a 16 year old that good, it’s well priced). The 12 year old is a different animal altogether, kicking, and massive in ABV%. The 1991 DE is another one most of us enjoy from time to time, and is a lovely sherry edition to the family.

Lagavulin 21…

We all hear it’s amazing.We all want one in our collection. Don’t we ?

I’ve been hearing how good this dram is for a lot of time now, people who had it, raving how fabulous it is,how complex and different it is form every other Lagavulin they had. The problem is that only 6,642 bottles of this were EVER made. when released they sold for around 90 GBP, and now as they are becoming more rare it’s not uncommon to find a bottle for more then 400 GBP. So, most of us can’t afford those. I’ve yet to find a sample of this online, and that would also be very expensive.

Two weeks ago, i visited a friend for some dramming action. We had a few lovely drams, and then he suggested we try a sample of a 21 he has. I was thrilled. Would it deliver all i was expecting of it? Will it be just ‘good’ and over-hyped? It was time to find out for myself. I personally think that Sherry and Peat can be a great combination if done right (Ardbeg Uigedail for example, or the Lagavuling DEs) , and this my friends, is a great demo of how well can peated malts can age in a sherry cask.

I guess you are asking yourselves now : “so, was it THAT good? was it ALL your excepted from it”?

My answer is short and sweet : “Oh yeah!”. It’s gorgeous, It’s brilliant. It really is.

Below you can find my notes. I am guilty of not giving it more time to ‘rest’ in the glass. it was late, i was short on time – it’s a crime. i know

Nose: Starts with big sherry balsamic. (this is a lagavulin?!), smoke, leather, new sandals kind of (remember when you were a kid, and got your biblical sandals?) , peat smoke, and smoked kippers. The nose is very complex, and the peat and smoke are light…

With water the nose gets a wee more tarry,and some blood oranges are more evident. I did not get any sulphur notes as described in the post by Jeff who tasted this one a few months back.

Palate : Big peat hits your palate, smoke fills your mouth, the smoked kippers are here big time,fire, half burnt cinders, iodine, Lagavulin, all mixed with some sweeter sherry, and malty notes. I’ve just scratched the surface over here. it needs more time…

Finish : Endless after campfire smoke, iodine, sweet burnt bacon.

H2O : i tried adding some water to it, and my friend added quite a bit of water at the end, and i must say this dram does not really need any. It shines with no water, and the 56.6% is not too much here by any means, no sir!

The first peated whiskey I ever bought was the 1991 DE and I went through that bottle faster than any other scotch.... it was so good & complex I couldn't get enough of it. It is still one of the best malts I ever had.

i recently was given a brandy glass of this when it was still £750 a bottle ( now £825 ). all i can say is that you,ll never taste a glass like it again. vanilla and fudge was my smell and taste. never thought this was possible.i can understand why it is a classic whiskey of "legendry stateous". that taste stayed in my mouth all day till bed time. if any one out their ..has this bottle . then well done my freind as you genuinely have got your self a bottle worthy of bowmore black stateous.

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