Lagavulin 8, non-chill filtered, 48% ABV. 200th Anniversary Edition.
I just realized that it has been a year since I have posted a review here. I really need to work on my priorities!
But, the good news is that I have not been avoiding single malt scotches in the meantime, I am just remiss in putting my tasting notes to paper – so to speak.
I have been keeping an eye out for the Lagavulin 8, having read about it, intrigued by the wide range of reviews. Yesterday, I found a bottle at the local shop and quickly brought it home for a test drive.
I am very fond of the Lagavulin 16, and given the relatively small difference in price, I did not enter into this tasting expecting to drop it for the Lagavulin 8. But, for the fun of it, I did pour a bit of both for a side-by-side comparison.
Lagavulin 8 is very light, golden yellow, a clear contrast to the amber of Lagavulin 16. It has a subtle, but surprisingly rich nose. The smoke is there, not over powering, but present in the way I would expect from an Islay whisky. There is a hint of spice and fruit expressions under the smoky veil.
On the palate, it is not as aggressive as I sometimes find with younger aged whisky. There is a vanilla dimension to the profile, honey, smoke, and a spicy pepper. But what strikes me the most is the balance. The smoke lingers after the spice and pepper subside.
I would characterize the finish as medium to short although the smoke stays with me for a time.
Fundamentally, it is a fun whisky. It has more depth than I anticipated for a young whisky. Overall, a satisfying dram.
Now, back to the comparison with Lagavulin 16? I find the 16 superior in every comparison; richer nose, a sweeter palate with less pronounced role of smoke, and a longer, warmer, smooth finish.
But, I am happy to have the Lagavulin 8 in my collection of Islay single malts. It is a fun dram, adding a smoky youthful, expression of the Lagavulin line of whisky. Indeed, it may not have been fair to match it up side-by-side with one of my favorite whiskys.