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Monday, November 4, 2019

Lagavulin 11 year old Offerman Edition

For a few years there was a lot of Parks & Recreation playing in loops on the television  in my living room. Often there was a beautiful pregnant woman sitting across from the television, with interior design magazines and her one cup of tea in hand. Every scene with Ron Swanson was my favorite scene in each episode with my favorite Parks & Rec moment being Ben Wyatt's first sip of Lagavulin (NBC removed the YouTube vid, damn them).

Nick Offerman, the now-bearded gent who played the mustachioed Swanson, loves Lagavulin. The character visited the distillery on the show and the actor stars in YouTube videos for the brand. So successful was this pairing that Diageo gave Offerman the opportunity to create his own Lagavulin expression. Offerman, who seems a more sensitive soul than his character always comes across as humble in interviews, especially during this product's media blitz.

A certain Man With Opinions purchased a bottle of this whisky and sent me a generous sample. (Thank you, MAO!) So today we are doing one of our highly-fêted simul-reviews! Here's MAO's review also posted this morning.

Distillery: Lagavulin
Owner: Diageo
Region: Southern Islay
Age: minimum 11 years
Maturation: ????
Outturn: ???
Alcohol by Volume: 46%
Chillfiltered? ???
Color added? ???

Since Offerman says he doesn't add water to his whisky, neither shall I.

The nose is fruitier than expected, think orange peel and canned peaches. The peat is much gentler than that of its 12-year-old CS sibling, like a soft band-aid smoke floating atop seaside notes. With time in the glass the nose transitions into a bowl of sugary candy and smoked hard caramels. The palate is similar to the nose, walking right up to the border of Too Sweet before some herbal bitterness pulls it back. The peat reads toasty and tangy here. There's also a mix of zippy pepper notes, apricots and vanilla. Tangy woody smoke leads the finish. As with the palate, there's more sugar than salt. Hints of vanilla and dried apricot stay in the background.

This is the kindest, cuddliest Lagavulin I've ever tried. Whether that's a good thing or not depends on one's palate preferences. I appreciated the nose's fruit notes and sincerely wished they came though louder in the palate. The sweetness was a bit of a surprise and required a few sips before I could adjust to it. One wonders if Nick Offerman's love of carpentry had an influence on the casks he chose, as active American oak influence can be found throughout the whisky. Personally, I'll take the 12yo CS's assault and the 16yo's balance over this whisky's sugar. Still, it's a very pleasant drink and bound to appeal to those who don't normally enjoy Lagavulin.

Availability - Mostly in the US, though a few retailers carry it as well
Pricing - $70-$100 in the US, over $250 in Europe (why?)
Rating - 83