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Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Single Malt Report: Classic of Islay 2015 Jack Wiebers Whisky World, cask 1704

As mentioned yesterday, the online whisky anorak community has declared that Jack Wieber's Classic of Islays are in fact Lagavulin single malts.  I reviewed Classic of Islay cask 530 yesterday.  Today I'm reviewing cask 1704.  My sample comes from the bottle purchased for the OC Scotch Club event I hosted back in November.  I tasted these two whiskies side by side in order to compare and contrast and, hopefully, get more deeply detailed notes.  The results were mixed.

Distillery: Lagavulin
Ownership: Diageo
Independent Bottler: Jack Wiebers Whisky World
Range: Classic of Islay
Region: Islay, perhaps
Age: ???
Maturation: "oak"
Cask #: 1704
Alcohol by Volume: 56.4%

The nose is brighter and fruitier than cask 530's, lots of rosy esters.  There are also ocean notes like seaweed and oysters.  Then there's ham, caramel, and hay.  After 20+ minutes, a subtle butyric note floats up.

The palate is mild.  Simple.  Bland.  There's peat, heat, salt, and a light sugariness.  After 20+ minutes, it does pick up a tangy lemon note, but also a woody bitterness.

Heat, soil, and smoke in the finish.  It picks up some sweetness and lemons with time in the glass.

WITH WATER (~43%abv)
The nose gets oaky, as in American oak pulp and butter.  Flower blossoms, anise, mint leaves, and light peat.

The palate is peppery with a simple sweetness and some caramel.  The tangy note expands.

The finish is tangy, sweet, and bitter, with a big caramel note.

Like cask 530, this one doesn't swim well.  And like that cask, the nose is the bright highlight.  But this cask's palate is DOA.  I really dug into this one trying to unearth some palate character without much in the way of results.  My palate wasn't shot because I found plenty of stuff going on with cask 530 during the same tasting.  Plus my sample was not oxidized because I poured it the day after the bottle was opened.  Cask 1704 tasted sort of like a mellow peated blend, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but this is cask strength Lagavulin.  Also, I could really do without the aggressive oak notes which, at times, feel like American "craft" whiskey.  The folks at whiskybase like this cask more than I, so take a look at their reviews for very different opinions.

Availability - Continental Europe
Pricing - €40 to €55
Rating - 78