Single malt whisky - tasting notes

24 Apr 2014

Lagavulin 1997 Distillers Edition

Tasting notes by Ruben Luyten - Posted in Lagavulin

Among the different double matured Distillers Editions, I’m sure Lagavulin P.X. is the most popular. It is basically the Lagavulin 16 Year Old which spent the last few months in a sweet Pedro Ximénez sherry cask.

This is the latest 1997 / 2013 edition, which comes in an updated bottle with a new, minty green label. Classy and totally in line with the special editions.



Lagavulin Distillers Edition 1997/2013Lagavulin 1997 ‘Distiller’s Edition’ (43%, OB 2013, P.X. finish, lgv. 4/502)

Nose: I rather love this. It has the classic Lagavulin smoke, soot and a leathery dryness, but also a thick, medium sweet coating of Mon Cheri cherries, prune jam and brown sugar. Honey-glazed almonds. Cinnamon. Fresh floral / herbal top notes. Quite some coastal notes too (seaweed, very subtle iodine). Sweet tobacco. Complex and balanced. Mouth: sweet and surprisingly shy entry, maybe we were expecting a higher ABV to highlight the intense flavours. Smooth, starting on the common Lagavulin 16 elements: earthy peat, liquorice, Lapsang tea, smoked fish… Then some spices (pepper) and growing fatty notes – it takes a while before it tilts towards sherry, figs, with chocolate, honey and a dark sweetness, say Turkish coffee. Finish: very long, on ashes, chocolate and peat smoke. A drier, more oaky hint as well.

I was slightly surprised by the soft entry on the palate, but I still think this is an excellent wine finished Lagavulin. Maybe too sweet for die-hard Islay fans, but it adds complexity and a certain decadency. A must-have. Between € 65 and € 90 depending on which shop.

Score: 90/100

Lagavulin 1997 Distillers Edition 4 Ruben Luyten 2014-04-24
  • sjoerd972

    I was going to say “I need to buy more Lagavulin”, but currently that’s true about any distillery that still has affordable and good booze out!

  • Roberto Sikora

    Hi Ruben, I´ve had one bottle of it… and what can I say… after I´ve tasted the half bottle to find the “good” of it… I´ve simply gave it away. I was very dissapointed about it. For me as a Lagavulin fan this was a hudge dissapointement :-( Compared to the Distillers Edition from 2010 this one is just a shame and it lacks a lot in terms of quality in my oppinion. Thank you for you´re review anyway :-)

  • Gal(WhiskyIsrael)

    how does this stack up against the 1994/95 editions?
    love them too.

  • Gal(WhiskyIsrael)

    haha. u should stop buying booze..

  • WhiskyNotes

    I’ve always loved Lagavulin DE, ever since I bought my first 1990/2006. Although they have different accents, I’ve never had the impression of a general decline or flattening like we see in other popular whiskies.

  • Jorn

    Well, 90 points seems a little overrated then. 88/89?

  • Robert

    Ruben, you seldom hand out scores of 90 or above. What one thing stands out about this Lagavulin that pushes it over the 89 of the standard 16?

  • WhiskyNotes

    I think the 16 has had a more constant profile over the years, and the DE more ups and downs, but in this case, when the sweetness is just right, I love it. The cherries, sweet tobacco and Turkish coffee… they add complexity without taking away the standard 16yo elements. I’m not a peathead so anything that mellows the sharpness of the peat, is a plus for me.

  • jh

    I have had two bottles of this vintage, and the first bottle was superb!!! It had a sweetnes to it that was a welcomed surprise yet it was still very smokey. I am currently drinking a bottle of what I thought was the same elixir and it tastes VERY different. No sweetness or fruitness and not as good as the standard Lagavullin. If I had bought this bottle first, I would have never bought two more. I have another which I am saving for a special occasion but now it appears I have a 50/50 chance of it being what I was hoping for…

    This does somewhat explain why some like it and others do not…

  • jh

    You have described my second bottle perfectly. There does appear to be two versions. This second one does not appear to have been bottled in a sherry cask at all, and just directly bottled. I would say if you did get the one that is finished in the sherry cask it would be worth savoring and holding on too.

  • WhiskyNotes

    Can you check the bottling code that is printed on the glass of both bottles? It starts with L and then a bunch of other numbers. This can help to identify versions (although it seems odd that a limited release would be created / bottled in different versions).



December 2015
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Coming up

  • Lagavulin Distillers Edition (2015)
  • Talisker Distillers Edition (2015)
  • Laphroaig 32 Year Old
  • Glen Grant 65yo 1950 cask #2747 for Wealth Solutions
  • Mortlach 1959/1960 (G&M Royal Wedding)

1935 notes by Ruben

WhiskyNotes - Ruben LuytenThis blog is my personal collection of impressions, written while searching for the ultimate single malt whisky.