As usual, the Lagavulin Feis Ile bottling is one of the most anticipated bottlings of the festival. There have been stories about long queues but I’ve heard there are still a couple of hundred bottles available from the distillery shop as we speak.
Lagavulin 18 Year Old Feis Ile 2016 was matured in American oak refill hogsheads and European oak sherry butts. Since they don’t mention a vintage this year, it probably means there is some older whisky in there as well.
Lagavulin 18 yo ‘Bicentenary Edition’ (49,5%, OB – Feis Ile 2016, refill hogsheads & European oak Bodega sherry butts, 6000 btl.)
Nose: elegant and fresh. Gentle smoky notes, with fresh eucalyptus and a light sea breeze. Lemony notes, oranges and apple blossom. Big mineral notes as well: seaweed, oysters, wet sheep and light medicinal touches (iodine, camphor, bandages). Just enough almond sweetness in the background. More mature and restrained than a 16yo. Really good.
Mouth: same menthol / eucalyptus freshness, which blend nicely into medicinal and sweet grassy notes. Hints of yeast. Mid-palate there is some oak prickle, an orangey note and soot. Olive brine. A tad more powerful than the nose suggested – crescendo style.
Finish: long and pure, mostly on lemons and peat. Liquorice as well.
Exactly what we’d expect from Lagavulin. Slightly restrained this year, but confident at the same time, with the American oak in the foreground. The Feis Ile 2014 is still my favourite. Nonetheless a hell of a whisky worth visiting the distillery for. Around € 160.