Lagavulin 8 Year Old started its life as a 200th Anniversary release in 2016, but the demand was so high that the distillery decided it would join the core range in November 2017 (at least in most parts of the world).
I dug up a bottle of the bicentenary version and I’m having it head-to-head with this new regular release which I bought just now.
Lagavulin 8 yo (48%, OB 2017)
Nose: there’s more youth in this version. Whereas the bicentenary version is fairly balanced, this one is slightly rougher, with more hints of peanut butter, popcorn and the scented (new-makeish) notes of candyfloss. Slightly more alcoholic punch as well. Smoked meat. Lemon and pickle brine. Tarry ropes, but less earthy and less balanced than it predecessor.
Mouth: more of a young, mezcal-y character again, it seems its profile has shifted a little towards the 12. White pepper, big peat – and quite some heat. Sweet vanilla toffee and smoky oak in a second wave. Even more distillate-driven? Sooty, ashy, coastal. Smoked kippers. Still a bit of this nutty side.
Finish: long, warmer now, on roasted nuts, hints of chocolate, warm ashes and black pepper.
Although the ABV is identical, this one seems more in-your-face than the limited edition, as well as coming across younger. There’s a small chance that it comes down to bottle airing (the limited edition has been open since 2016) but in any case the limited edition was the better one for me. Check Master of Malt or The Whisky Exchange.