If you know whisky then you'll know Lagavulin – it's a go-to Islay single malt when the evening invites you to linger over a smooth shot of Lagavulin 16's trademark smokey peat.
Now Laga has a little brother, in the form of this 8 year old "200th Anniversary" edition sold in the travel retail channel for just under $100.
Right away, you're wondering how it compares against the much-loved Lagavulin 16?
At half the age of the ubiquitous Laga 16 there was a chance that the casks Lagavulin chose for this would be too young or too harsh – something that's happened with more than one other Islay producers' new releases in recent years.
Thankfully, that's not the case: Lagavulin 8 may only be half the age but it's full of flavour and character.
Here are my tasting notes to tell the story.
Lagavulin 8 year old
Colour: Light straw, very pale.
Nose: Bacon, chorizo, and a hint of asparagus. Definitely youthful without tasting being too 'young' and definitely not harsh. An enjoyable nose that makes you want to dive right in...
Palate: Right away, you know this is a Laga. There's plenty of fresh peat with a hint of iodine and sweet tropical notes (a little mango). Think 'sweet glazed BBQ ribs' and you're not far off where the Laga 8 lands, but mostly for me it was about the meaty peat of this smooth creamy mix.
Finish: Long and peaty – and a much sweeter, fresher peat smoke than the Lagavulin 16 year old.
Rating: 91/100. While not overly complex it's smooth, refined and delicious. A definite winner, and one worth seeking out for any fan of Islay – and a must for any fans of Lagavulin!
Details: 48% ABV, A$95
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