Review: Lagavulin Distiller’s Edition

Lagavulin DE13

Lagavulin Distiller’s Edition 2013

I’ve always had a fondness for Lagavulin. It was one of the first whiskies I ever tried, and my gateway into the murky peat of Islay. You also have to love a distillery that refuses to succumb to the trend for No Age Statement whiskies and endless limited-edition releases. For the standard Lagavulin bottling to be still 16-years-old in 2015 is quite an achievement, and other than that there’s just a yearly release of a cask strength 12-year-old and this “double matured” Distiller’s Edition. Even indie bottlings are a rare thing.

Let’s have a look at the Distiller’s Edition then. This is the 2013 release – the same as the standard 16 but with a few extra months in Pedro Ximénez casks.

Nose: Well, this is unmistakably Lagavulin, but in low-key mood. It’s all fairly quiet and subtle. You do find some vinous sherry notes, but there’s none of the PX cloying sweetness. Instead there’s pipe tobacco, blossoms and herbs. Thyme in particular.
Taste: A fair amount of peat, but a bit more subtle than the 16. There’s a nice earthy and rooty quality – like digging around in a veg bed. There’s also a very distinctly savoury note going on – smoked ham to be precise.
Finish: After all that it’s a surprisingly clean finish. The herbs come back, this time with a nice fresh mint leaf quality. Lovely smoke lingers for some time.

I don’t know why Lagavulin responds so atypically to a sherry finish, but I’m glad it does as I prefer this style. It’s subtle and restrained, but with lots to say given a bit of time. Recommended.

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