...where distraction is the main attraction.

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Lagavulin Jazz Festival 2017

Lagavulin is great, jazz is great. But there isn't any actual jazz in the bottle (unless you really want to get abstract). And frankly I'd rather be out in the world writing about jazz festivals than being cooped up inside, drinking whisky samples by myself. Aside from a flooded muddy adventure in New Orleans last year, I've never actually been to a jazz festival. Is whisky really the best drug for such an event? I picture a multitude of stumbles over to the porta potties.

Let's see what people think of the whisky. MAO and Angus give it a 90. The whiskybase community says 88.19 and Thjs scores it 87. That's promising!

Distillery: Lagavulin
Owner: Diageo
Region: Islay
Maturation: Refill American oak hogsheads + Refill European oak butts
Age: ?
Release date: 2017
Outturn: 6,000 bottles
Alcohol by Volume: 57.6%
Chill-filtration? Probably not
Caramel coloring? Probably not
(from a bottle split)

The nose is very herbal and a little grungy, with raw peated spirit, baby-Talisker-style mezcal and raw cocoa. Nectarines, limes and brown sugar drift around the edges, and something fishy swims in the background. The palate is much hotter than the nose. It's also sweet with straightforward peat smoke. Lots of limes and canned fruit cocktail. Some bitter herbs and tart cherries are in the mix as well. It finishes tangy, tart and hot, with smoke, peppercorns and ocean notes.

DILUTED TO ~48%abv, or 1¼ tsp of water per 30mL whisky
The nose softens up and gains more beach notes. Think seaweed, sand and grilled shellfish with lemon juice. The palate picks up smoked meat and a bright bitterness, along with lemons, sugar, peat and fresh herbs. It finishes with bitter herbs and lots of smoke. Sugar and cracked pepper.

This reads even younger than the official eight year old, placing it right around the style of all those infant anonymous "Islays". That doesn't make it bad, it's just surprisingly raw, and neither unique nor terribly fascinating when neat. Diluting it helps considerably, bringing out a fresh oceanside character. When lining it up with the rest of this week's Lagavulins, I found it to be the one in which I was least interested. The Lagavulin competition is tough.

Availability - Secondary market
Pricing - ???
Rating - 85 (when diluted)

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