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Lagavulin 8 Year Old

Surprise ! A Blind Tasting Reveals New Notes

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@OdysseusUnboundReview by @OdysseusUnbound

30th Aug 2019


  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

This was a sample graciously provides by @Nozinan. The sample was poured May 29 2019, and the bottle was opened April 29. All tasting notes and scoring were done blind.

Tasting Notes

  • Nose (undiluted): peat, smoke, graham crackers, red fruits, possibly sherried
  • Palate (undiluted): rich, fruity, jammy with peat and smoke joining the party a bit later. More graham crackers. Hazelnuts. Dark chocolate. Possibly a slightly higher abv (50% ?)
  • Finish: a bit of ashy peat, more red fruit (strawberries?), a hint of espresso, some malty notes at the tail end with a touch of black liquorice

With water there’s way more fruit on the nose, alongside some slight maritime notes. Although I could be imagining those maritime notes since I associate peat smoke with the pungent iodine that often accompanies Islay malts. The fruitiness has me thinking Amrut, since I once thought a single cask, ex-bourbon cask matured Amrut was a sherried whisky. Their spirit definitely has a fruity edge to it. With water added, there’s less fruit and more nuttiness on the palate, especially hazelnuts. The espresso bitterness is more prominent on the finish with water added, and it’s not at all unpleasant.

The initial nosing had me thinking Laphroaig, but the colour had me leaning Ardbeg. After some more nosing and tasting, I’d have to guess this is a peated Amrut or a Laphroaig Cairdeas with some type of sherry finish. Yummy.

The Reveal

Lagavulin 8. (Or Glenfiddich; @Nozinan was a little coy about the reveal). I was flabbergasted. My tasting notes were completely different from the last sample I tried and reviewed. Of course, this was a different batch and my setting was obviously different from my last tasting.

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Nozinan commented

Great review! I enjoyed tasting this expression while reading your comments on the mystery dram, and, of course, loved giving the reveal.

I think this is the fist time I've tasted from this bottle since the first opening. I really enjoyed it. Probably more than I did the first time.

24 days ago 2Who liked this?

OdysseusUnbound commented

@Nozinan So you can confirm that this is not, in fact, Glenfiddich?

24 days ago 1Who liked this?

BlueNote commented

@OdysseusUnbound I'm sure you would be able to tell the difference between any G'Fiddich and any Lagavulin. Here's a question though. Is the current batch of 8 year old any different from the original 200th Anniversary Edition? I'm thinking of buying another one and saving my second bottle of the 200th edition.

24 days ago 0

OdysseusUnbound commented

@BlueNote I don’t know if there are differences, other than the standard batch variations, between this one and the 200th anniversary edition.

24 days ago 0

BlueNote commented

@OdysseusUnbound BTW, I didn't get much in the way of fruitiness from the original version. From your review I gather that this edition is a bit sweeter and fruitier. I'm assuming that this is the more recent version.

Thanks for an interesting and useful review.

24 days ago 1Who liked this?

Nozinan commented

@BlueNote I noticed a chocolate and coffee note today that I did not have on my review of the original anniversary batch.

Enjoyment wise I would say it is at least as good based on today’s sipping.

I hope to taste them H2H in the next few months.

So yes, @OdysseusUnbound, this is not Glenfiddich.

24 days ago 1Who liked this?

cricklewood commented

Great review, blind tasting is the great equalizer. I love the profile of the Lag 8 200th anniversary. I've also hesitated buying a new one for fear of newer batches not living up to this one. Perhaps I should take the plunge.

23 days ago 2Who liked this?

OdysseusUnbound commented

@cricklewood I absolutely love blind tastings for this very reason. Labels can set expectations and it’s well-documented in psychological studies that expectations affect our perceptions. I’m probably going to pick up a bottle of this sooner rather than later.

23 days ago 2Who liked this?

Nock commented

I agree with the sentiment about Blind whisky assessment. I have almost totally switched over to only taking notes on samples blind. I still mostly do it "semi-blind." I know the whiskies in the line up. However, when I have the opportunity I love the totally blind experience. It does eliminate preconceived notions. The only draw back is if you are not in the right frame of mind. I have also learned that I need to stop "guessing" during my tasting notes. Because once I say, "I think this could be Lagavulin" my brain starts to go down that trail and finding more "Lagavulin type notes." Of course, once I have my notes down I try and guess . . . I am typically wrong much more than I expect.

Thanks @OdysseusUnbound for the lovely review!

23 days ago 3Who liked this?

BlueNote commented

@cricklewood Yeah, I think I’ll go for another one too. I’m thinking of keeping my remaining 200th bottle intact for a while.

23 days ago 2Who liked this?

JasonHambrey commented

Are you sure @Nozinan didn't dilute it with a drop or two of Lambertas? I know he's trying to get rid of that stuff - it was fruity, as I remember (among other things...)

21 days ago 1Who liked this?

Victor commented

My first tastes of Lagavulin 8 yo provided me with no reason to want to own a bottle of it. That said, I see no reason why Lagavulin should not be able to put out a first rate malt at an age of 8 years old and an ABV of 48%. So I expect that you guys know what you are talking about when you say that some batches of Lagavulin 8 yo are first rate. My initial experience still makes me extremely reluctant to consider buying a bottle of it blind. For now, with a giant stash of Kildalton Islay malts on hand, I remain content to limit my Lagavulin purchases to the 12 yo.

21 days ago 4Who liked this?

Jonathan commented

I appreciate the 8. It seems like a bourbon cask ,baby sibling to .the 12. The Game of Thrones 9 has some sherry influence--baby 16/16DE. At the moment, I like the 9. I have never seen GOT.

9 days ago 1Who liked this?

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