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Thursday, May 14, 2020

Lagavulin 19 year old, Feis Ile 2019

Yes indeed, an age statement and a Feis Ile release to boot! Feis Ile bottlings generate more excitement on the secondary market than any other contemporary Islay single malts, even more than Bunnahabhain Toachmibum. Can't say that I've had many FIs. The only other Lagavulin Feis Ile I've tried was the 2016 edition, and it was EXCELLENT, my favorite non-21-year-old Lagavulin if that makes any sense. That one was 18 years of age and had previously resided in American oak and ex-bodega European oak casks. This one is 19 years old and was aged in sherry-treated American oak casks. I'm fairly excited here.

Distillery: Lagavulin
Owner: Diageo
Region: Islay
Maturation: sherry-treated American oak casks
Age: minimum 19 years
Release date: 2019
Outturn: 6,000 bottles
Alcohol by Volume: 53.8%
Chill-filtration? Probably not
Caramel coloring? Maybe
(from a bottle split)

The nose is full of wood spice, almond extract, ocean air and seaweed. The peat reads almost toasty. There's molasses, dates and a mix of citrus fruits. With time in the glass it picks up some mango and just a kiss of manure. Lots of tangy fruits (citrus and tropical) in the palate along with salted almonds and walnuts. Serrano pepper oil mixes with a little bit of drying tannin. Mild honey sweetness meets baking spices (clove, nutmeg and fruity cinnamon). When the sweet and peat merge after 30 minutes, a hint of tar squeezes out. It finishes with tangy fruits, heavy smoke, pepper oil, honey, herbal bitterness and a little bit of tar.

Classy Lagavulin. Those "sherry-treated" casks have given youth the boot, and have thankfully not replaced it with liquid raisins. The fruit and nuts and bitterness work very well together, while the peat emerges in various guises throughout the experience. Feels like the staves are starting to show, perhaps due to a couple aggressive casks or *gasp* older whisky in the mix. If you picked up this bottle at its original price last year, you probably won't be disappointed. Still, I loved Monday's 12yo CS more.

Availability - Secondary market, and some random retailers selling at secondary prices
Pricing - original price: £150, now £250-£400
Rating - 89