Having just tasted both White Horse and Lagavulin 16 together, I couldn't resist this one. This is from the Elements of Islay range, an independently bottled series of Islay malts, no age statement, cask-strength, non-coloured, non-chill-filtered, and approved by a specific expert on Islay whiskies. They are always from batches of between 5 and 20 casks.
Lg2 is their second bottling of Lagavulin. Which is interesting as, when I took a tour of Lagavulin distillery last year, I was told quite definitively that 100% of Lagavulin spirit is bottled officially as a single malt (it doesn't even go into Johnnie Walker anymore). So how this bottle came to be, who knows? Maybe it fell off the back of a truck. Anyway, however it was spirited away, this particular bottle was approved by Islay expert Gordon Homer.
The colour is a very, very light, shimmery gold. On the nose, very sooty, like a wet campfire. Oatmeal, smoked salmon and honey. This is a very interesting interplay between sweet and medicinal. The faintest hint of milk chocolate. Beautifully smoky, never overwhelming. Water smooths everything out. Everything you want in a peat reek.
On the palate there is some alcohol burn (and the lips tingle!) Light honey, intense smoke and oily mouthfeel. Light caramels and vanillas, but still very medicinal. After you hold it in your mouth a while, it calms down and becomes briny and sweeter. Delicious, especially with water, which brings out more phenols and provides an even oilier character.
The finish is chalky and dusty with more wet campfire. Very long, but not as spicy as you might expect. This is my kind of Islay single malt, though it could use a little more complexity. But it is a lot of fun to drink, with a great conversation within the malt between sweet, salty and smoky. This character is a small part of the White Horse blend's profile - the oily sweet peat is there but it is surrounded by other factors. Closer to the 16 Year Old, yes - but the 16 has so much more cask influence (this Lg2 is a very young whisky). I don't think you can really find this anymore, but if you're a peat freak like I am, you'll want to grab it if you can.
This was a mighty fine dram. Thanks again for sharing it with me!