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Tasting Lagavulin 21- A real treat!

2 January 2011 2,613 views Written by: Gal Granov

2011 is here. why not start it with a bang?  And what better than starting it with an ace of a dram. Yes, Lagavulin 21.

Lagavulin. A lot of us peat lovers adore the 16 year old, with it’s perfect harmony, wonderful nose and palate, and good price (for a 16 year old that good, it’s well priced). The 12 year old is a different animal altogether, kicking, and massive in ABV%. The 1991 DE is another one most of us enjoy from time to time, and is a lovely sherry edition to the family.

Lagavulin 21…

We all hear it’s amazing.We all want one in our collection. Don’t we ?  lagavulin21bot_hires

I’ve been hearing how good this dram is for a lot of time now, people who had it, raving how fabulous it is,how complex and different it is form every other Lagavulin they had. The problem is that only 6,642 bottles of this were EVER made. when released they sold for around 90 GBP, and now as they are becoming more rare it’s not uncommon to find a bottle for more then 400 GBP. So, most of us can’t afford those. I’ve yet to find a sample of this online, and that would also be very expensive.

Two weeks ago, i visited a friend for some dramming action. We had a few lovely drams, and then he suggested we try a sample of a 21 he has. I was thrilled. Would it deliver all i was expecting of it? Will it be just ‘good’ and over-hyped? It was time to find out for myself. I personally think that Sherry and Peat can be a great combination if done right (Ardbeg Uigedail for example, or the Lagavuling DEs) , and this my friends, is a great demo of how well can peated malts can age in a sherry cask.

I guess you are asking yourselves now : “so, was it THAT good? was it ALL your excepted from it”?

My answer is short and sweet : “Oh yeah!”. It’s gorgeous,  It’s brilliant. It really is.

Below you can find my notes. I am guilty of not giving it more time to ‘rest’ in the glass. it was late, i was short on time – it’s a crime. i know Winking smile


Lagavulin 21 year old, 56.6% ABV , 6,642 bottles , £450 (buy here)

Nose: Starts with big sherry balsamic. (this is a lagavulin?!), smoke, leather, new sandals kind of (remember when you were a kid, and got your biblical sandals?) , peat smoke, and smoked kippers. The nose is very complex, and the peat and smoke are light…

With water the nose gets a wee more tarry,and some blood oranges are more evident. I did not get any sulphur notes as described in the post by Jeff who tasted this one a few months back.

Palate : Big peat hits your palate, smoke fills your mouth, the smoked kippers are here big time,fire, half burnt cinders, iodine, Lagavulin, all mixed with some sweeter sherry, and malty notes. I’ve just scratched the surface over here. it needs more time…

Finish : Endless after campfire smoke, iodine, sweet burnt bacon.

H2O : i tried adding some water to it, and my friend added quite a bit of water at the end, and i must say this dram does not really need any. It shines with no water, and the 56.6% is not too much here by any means, no sir!

bottom line:

I seldom give grades to the drams i sip, but if i had been doing that, this one would get a 97/100. a true winner.

Probably the best whisky I’ve tasted in 2010, and probably the best whisky I’ve had. And i can say that without a shadow of a doubt.

now, get me a bottle of this… (my birthday is coming in 4 months time *wink*)

Score : 97/100

Slainte!

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  • http://twitter.com/ScotchHobbyist Scotch Hobbyist

    I’m glad you got a chance to try this one, Gal! Definitely a big, complex, and pretty amazing whisky. I just wish I wasn’t bothered by those sulfur notes. Obviously, it doesn’t hit everybody the same way.

    Interesting note on the sulfur thing…I’m seeing a pattern where the whiskies I find to be “sulfury” are ones that Serge describes on Whiskyfun as having “gunpowder” or “spent matches.” This was one of those, and another example would be the recent a’bunadh batch 30.

    Great review!

    Cheers,
    Jeff

    • http://www.whiskyisrael.co.il Gal(WhiskyIsrael)

      Thanks Jeff,

      Been wanting to try this for ages now, and i did.;)
      as for the “spent matches / gunpowder”, funny but i don’t really get those… my nose must not be sensitive to that smell, or i need to try again.

      Happy new 2011.

  • johan brugge

    This is indeed an excellent whisky. So far it’s the best I’ve tried. I don’t regret having opened this bottle at all. But unfortunately recent prices are just ridiculous.

    • http://www.whiskyisrael.co.il Gal(WhiskyIsrael)

      Thanks Johan.
      i totally agree. too bad i dont have a bottle myself. ;(

      • johan brugge

        Well, Gal. I was lucky enough to buy one about 2 years ago at ‘only’ 179 €. Now you pay easily 350 to 450 € for it.
        BTW, nice blog. I found out thanks to GJR on a Dutch whisky forum. It’s always nice to meet another peathead like me.

        • http://www.whiskyisrael.co.il Gal(WhiskyIsrael)

          Thanks so much Johan!

          hope you will check the blog from time to time.

          peat (and not peat) notes of very interesting drams to come.