The oldest, most exclusive single malt in the Special Releases 2021 is the Lagavulin 26 Year Old, a 1994 vintage matured in first fill sherry seasoned casks (both Pedro Ximénez and Oloroso). It has a nice, deep hue with brown and red hints.
Lagavulin 26 yo 1994 ‘The Lion’s Jewel’ (44,2%, OB Special Releases 2021, first fill Pedro Ximénez + Oloroso seasoned casks, 7542 btl.)
Nose: plenty of sweet smoke, mixed with tarry ropes, dried meat, leather seats, rubber boots and hints of wet canvas. Boat varnish, cloves, red berries and juicy plums. Hints of linseed oil, camphor and bandages. Lots of tiny notes, this keeps getting better in the glass. Really great, even with the slightly sharp woody edge and the vinous top notes.
Mouth: starts with salty notes alongside sour berries, with some acrid scorched wood in the background, mint, brine and pipe tobacco. A good flavour profile again, but I expected more depth and more velvety sweetness from the PX. Perhaps the low ABV makes it thinner too. Herbal tea, cold ashes, leathery notes.
Finish: long, warmer, with bonfire ashes, hints of cold coffee, ginger and herbal tea.
A really good Lagavulin, but it felt a little younger and less ‘at ease’ than I’d like. It’s ashy and coastal, with slightly thin sherry. Sure, there aren’t many casks from this age lying around in warehouses, but I keep thinking they must have even better casks. Still available from The Whisky Exchange for instance.