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Lagavulin 8 Year Old 200th Anniversary

The little brother of the 12yo

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@Pierre_WReview by @Pierre_W

26th Jun 2016


Lagavulin 8 Year Old 200th Anniversary
  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

As everybody interested in single malts knows by now, this 8-year old bottling was released to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the founding of Lagavulin distillery in 1816. It was inspired by the visit of Alfred Barnard to the “village of Lagavulin” and the distillery in the 1880s when he wrote about an 8-year old that they tasted “and which was exceptionally fine”.

The nose starts off with soft smoke, brine and those malty and milky flavours that I love so much in the 12-year old special editions that are released every year: similar structure, just a little bit less pronounced. Next, I got walnuts, lemons and a hint of seaweed. Quite sooty and ashy, too – this is a fabulous nose!

The palate is medium-bodied, spicy and very dry. The lemon flavours are back, now together with a touch of cinnamon, more walnuts and plenty of white pepper. The soft smoke from the nose has been fully replaced by notes of soot and ash. Interestingly, the respectable 48% ABV do not really show on the palate – this is a surprisingly modest body.

The finish is long, warming and very, very sooty. Again there are notes of lemons and cinnamon, followed by a hint of white pepper.

So far, I have never tasted a Lagavulin that was not great and this 8-year old is no exception. It reminded me a lot of the yearly 12-year old special releases, only that it was less boisterous and less poised, which is why I am tempted to call this the little brother of the 12-year old. I love the reference to Alfred Barnard and the history behind it, and it is kind of fun to imagine that this is what Barnard might have tasted. In short: excellent stuff given the relatively young age of 8 years, and in terms of rating this is just one notch below the last 12-year old that I tried.

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MaltActivist commented

@Pierre_W Happy to see Lagavulin proudly releasing young whiskies both with a fantastic story behind it as well as flavors to match. Had this in Islay when I was there last month. Excellent little dram, this.

7 years ago 0

Pierre_W commented

Agree, @MaltActivist. This one distillery never disappoints, neither with younger nor with older releases. Totally jealous, by the way, that you got to try the 18-year old on Islay!

7 years ago 0

Victor commented

@Pierre-W, thanks for your excellent review. That is good to see that you too like this Lagavulin 8 yo 200th Anniversary release. I have only seen very positive reviews for it. It is always nice to have confidence when you are considering purchase of a new bottle. The degree of unanimity of opinion around Lagavulin 8 yo 200th Anniversary release is unusual.

It is interesting about the relative climates for aging whisky. In chilly Scotland 8 years is a 'young' age for whisky, whereas in hot-summered Kentucky 8 years produces a middle-aged bourbon. 8 years in Bangalore India might produce something undrinkably "old".

7 years ago 0

Ol_Jas commented

It's probably older than most scotch we're not given the age on!

7 years ago 0

Pierre_W commented

Many thanks for your kind words, @Victor. It is not only that you are bound to like this if you are a Lagavulin lover, this is genuinely good stuff. As I mentioned I am a big fan of the 12-year old releases and this 8-year old is really just one notch below those, which I find astounding given the difference in age and price. Btw, and on a personal note, compared with the 200th anniversary bottlings released last year by Ardbeg and Laphroaig I like the Lagavulin release the best.

7 years ago 0