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Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Lagavulin Distillery Exclusive 2017

Lagavulin has issued two distillery exclusive bottlings, one in 2017 and one in 2018. They must have heard I had visited in 2016. The 2017 and 2018 had different maturation mixes and different ABVs and different outturns, but they both were missing an age statement. The 2017 has the better community rating on Whiskybase, as well as an 89-point ratings from MAO and Angus. But I don't know, those two fellas are so optimistic about the state of things...

Distillery: Lagavulin
Owner: Diageo
Region: Islay
Maturation: ???
Age: ?
Release date: 2017
Outturn: 7,500 bottles
Alcohol by Volume: 54.1%
Chill-filtration? Probably not
Caramel coloring? Maybe
(from a bottle split)

Lots of fruit (apples, lemons and pineapples) on the nose, followed by eucalyptus and cinnamon. The peat moves from a mossy note over to bonfire embers over the course of 30 minutes. There are also some rosemary, maple fudge and minerally white wine notes. The palate is the sweetest of this week's four Lagavulins. Pineapple and brown sugar meets tart citrus. Moderate heat and peat smoke. After a while, the palate develops notes of dried thyme and a salty meatiness (or a meaty saltiness). It finishes sweet and salty, with a mix of cigar and wood smokes, and a blend of dried herbs.

DILUTED TO ~48%abv, or ¾ tsp of water per 30mL whisky
The nose becomes a little farmier, and the smoke style moves closer to the kiln. It's also gets brinier with time. And that's about it. It has lost all its other characteristics. Less sweetness on the palate now. Lemon juice and a pinch of salt, a tiny bit of berry jam and some more bitterness. Tangy berries and bitter smoke in the finish.

This is probably best at full strength, as dropping it down to 48%abv seems to neuter it. It's a good warm drink when neat, perhaps close to a dessert Lagavulin. Or at least it's more casual than the 12yo CS. Though I liked this whisky a lot, I'm not disappointed that I missed out on a full bottle because (the last time I checked) the standard 16 year old tops it.

Availability - Secondary market
Pricing - ???
Rating - 87 (neat only, loses several points once diluted)