Lagavulin’s popular limited edition Distiller’s Edition, distilled in 1995 and finished in Pedro Ximinez sherry casks. An extra layer of sweetness soothes the rough edges of this much-loved dram.
Lagavulin is a distillery on the southern shore of the Inner Hebridean island of Islay. It is noted for producing a heavily peated single malt whisky with strong iodine overtones. The name is Scots Gaelic for “the hollow by the mill”.
Built in 1816, the distillery is one of three well-known producers along the coast between the villages of Port Ellen and Kildalton, the others being Ardbeg and Laphroaig. Indeed, the rivalry between Lagavulin and Laphroaig spilled over into legal battles in the 19th Century, following allegations that the then-owner had copied the Laphroaig style.
The distillery sources water from the nearby Solum Lochs exclusively and the barley is malted at nearby Port Ellen. The distillery has four stills and it produces several well-regarded expressions across three main series. The “standard” bottling is the 16 year old, which has won several international competitions and is regarded as one of the finest malts available by many critics.
The malt is also available at 12, 21 and 25 years old as well as in a range of ages through the Distillers Edition series. There is also a series released in honor of the local festival, Feis Ile, and expressions finished in Pedro Ximenez casks, which are referred to as Lagavulin PX.
Taste: It’s a brave person who tries to persuade a malt like Lagavulin to go into a different direction. Indeed, even PX casks, from the sweetest fortified wine of all, can’t fully obscure the distillery’s character, just give it a raisined coating. The creosote turns to tar and licorice, while there’s Syrah-like sootiness, and damson. This release is slightly less sweet than in the past and is the better for it.