An establishment that lasts 200 years, by any standard, is impressive. More so , when it comes to whiskies. The Lagavulin distillery, after surviving two World Wars, the Great Depression and the dearth of demand in the 80s, is celebrating their 200th anniversary this year and they kicked off their celebrations with a rather modest eight-year-old expression earlier in the year. But recently, the Islay-based distillery followed up with a limited edition bottling – the Lagavulin 25 Year Old.
What’s special about this expression is that it is “the first of its kind” (according to its press release) to be matured exclusively in sherry casks.
That, and its scarcity should also interest some collectors and investors. Only 8,000 bottles are available worldwide, with 96 allocated to Singapore.
And, you can’t get them via retail. Diageo has decided to maintain its exclusivity by offering this expression only through Diageo’s Private Client service at the Johnnie Walker House Singapore, a “by-invitation-only private suite allowing exclusive access to bespoke Scotch Whisky experiences, in-depth conversations and an unparalleled treasury of the rarest collections of Scotch Whisky from Diageo.”
We’d love to try a dram or two but we can’t, as we aren’t invited. But meanwhile, here are the official tasting notes:
Nose: Profound, complex and dry overall. Rich yet elusive, it really takes time to open up, first offering liquid dried fruits; figs, dates or prunes, a trace of treacle toffee with almost no sweetness and a distant faintly medicinal note of wood polish, which takes on char and smoke, as with a fine old oak chest left too close to a roaring fire. Gradually you discover jammy notes with roasted meats and honey; even, a raspberry coulis. Finally, there are clean ripe red apples, mint and, in time, a whiff of sealing wax. Water brings up soft toffee and milk chocolate, sweet marzipan over sour cherries, cold smoke, burnt timbers and pine resin.
Palate: A voluptuous, oily texture, with a bitter-sweet and gingery, slightly drying start. Intense, with masses of charred wood, oak-smoked meats, honey, burnt treacle tart and ash. Then, refreshing spearmint. Salty, then sweet, with water; gentle peat and spearmint. Now it’s soft, comforting and relaxed.
Finish: Long, smooth, sweetly honeyed and elegant, with slowly rising fragrant wood smoke, ash, salt and a subtle, chilli like heat; followed by cooling eucalyptus. Finally, oily and bittersweet, with burnt orange peel, all of it lingering deliciously. Softer with water, which brings a late, quiet pungency.
The Lagavulin 25 Year Old is priced at S$1,820. If you are keen to get a bottle, email firstname.lastname@example.org.