In 2014, Diageo started to release a new subset of whiskies within its Classic Malt series, exclusively for the “Friends of the Classic Malts”. Each of the expressions were to be “Triple Matured” and WU got its hands on the Lagavulin FOCM expression. There is no-age-statement associated with the expressions, but the suspicions amongst writers and those in the know seem to be that this is the standard Lagavulin 16 that has received 6 months further maturation in American Oak and 6 months further maturation in European Oak.
M: Instantly smelt more like a Laphroaig from just down the road in Islay, but after going back there’s a cleaner, less iodine-fuelled smoke and power to it. It doesn’t seem to be Lagavulin’s signature full-on smoky nose – it’s a sweeter smoke. It’s definitely got more of a salinity than the gold standard 16yo too.
M: Big flavours at play here. Thick, chewy caramel sweetness, with a hazelnut tang and dryness at first sip and then big, big, sweet smoke just rocks up and knocks those other flavours right out of the park.
M: A long, long finish with that sweet and smoky flavour battle lasting all the way down. Once it seems to have gone away it then comes right back without having to take another sip.
M: Given that this is a variation on one of my favourite tipples, I was worried that this release might be sacrilege and just an easy cash-in. That said, there seems to be little variation to the standard template but just enough to warrant its own release. Having since learned that there is (relatively) little development to the original product but for the notes additional maturation, then it is understandable. Not in a bad way either. Its definitely a Lagavulin but it’s got more of a saltier taste throughout. Despite that ageing though it still retains some of that original barley taste in there too. Certainly not for the faint hearted or for having more than (large) one in a night but overall it is well worth a try for any discerning Laga-fan.
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