Releasing a special bottle for Feis Ile event is a tradition for the distilleries located on Islay Island. This year’s event was more special for Lagavulin as the legendary distillery was celebrating its 200th anniversary. To commemorate this special occasion, Lagavulin released two special bottlings. Lagavulin 8 Year Old was the first expression released as the globally distributed 200th anniversary bottle. Second expression, Lagavulin 18 Year Old Feis Ile 2016, was more special as only 6.000 ‘individually numbered bottles were released.
(You can see all the special bottling released for Feis Ile 2016 here)
Lagavulin is one of the most famous brands in single malt whisky world, especially if you like peated, Islay whiskies. The name Lagavulin comes from the Gaelic expression Lag a’mhuilin meaning “hollow in the mill”. (You may like my previous post about the Gaelic names and the origins of whisky brand names)
Lagavulin 18 Year Old Feis Ile 2016 bottle is the selection of Iain McArthur, the legendary warehouseman at Lagavulin distillery for more than 40 years. It is a blend of refill American Oak and ex Bodega European Oak casks. Bottled at 49.5% ABV which is a bit low for a cask strength expression. As there is no indication of a certain vintage, it is probably safe to presume that there are older whiskies in it as well
Lagavulin 18 Year Old Feis Ile 2016 Tasting Notes
Color: Dark gold / light amber
Nose: Fresh and sophisticated on the nose. Smoky aromas and fruity notes create a rich but well balanced overall impact. Eucalyptus, citrus notes with light medicinal touches as you would expect from a traditional Lagavulin expression.
Palate: This is where you get to taste the expected smoky / peaty flavors. Freshness is still here, thanks to eucalyptus and menthol along with mellow fruit notes. Bit of oak and wood notes at the background.
Finish: This is what made Lagavulin a legend. Fantastically long and satisfying finish. Leftover peat and citrus notes on the tongue…
I am a big fan of Lagavulin 16 year old so instinctively I compare this expression to it. Surprisingly 18 year old is fresher and less peaty than its younger brother. Don’t take me wrong, it is still a great dram and I highly recommend it if you get the chance to sample it but it does not have the character of the 16 year old or other high peated expressions. Although with its fresh flavor profile, it can be great alternative to Lagavulin 16 Year old in warm summer nights.