We have here an 8 year-old Lagavulin bottled at 48% ABV, and so pale that it’s almost clear. This was originally released as the distillery’s 200th (bicentenary) anniversary limited edition, but has since been added to the core range. With that, the information available online dries up. To my palate, this seems to be missing the sherry portion found in the 16-year. Like the 12-year, I would guess this is entirely from ex-bourbon casks.
Bottled at a cask strength of 58% ABV, but without any age information, The Ileach Cask Strength is a single malt whisky from one of the distilleries on the island of Islay that makes fully-peated malt. “The Ileach” means “the man from Islay” and you could try pronouncing it as “ee-luck”, but you’d still sound like a tourist. Just don’t say “Eye Leech”. Ew.
…He also notes “I’d rather pay a little more for better quality, wouldn’t you?” which ordinarily I’d agree with. A large percentage of the opinions I post here on this blog are related to the value of whisky – finding better quality for a reasonable price. I’d far rather pay $45 for…
Okay. Yeah, it’s aged in PX sherry, which is a big deal, but… this particular expression falls short with me. I’d stick to the 16, and get my sherry kick elsewhere.
The 12 has a clearer, cleaner flavor than Lagavulin 16, more bright and more powerful. It shows Islay peat, pure and without excess wood or the sweetness inherent in the use of European oak.
Finlaggan is a conundrum. Bottles from the Finlaggan brand contain a single malt from an Islay distillery. The company keeps a very tight lid on the identity of its source, breaking silence only to insist that Finlaggan does now, always has, and always will contain whisky from the same distillery.
With a little research, a little organization, and a little dedication, you can avoid paying ridiculous prices for good whisky.
When your liquor cabinet is bursting at the seams, maybe consider winnowing your bottle count down by “covering the bases” of all the major types of malt whisky, and keeping just one bottle in each category: Peated, Sherried, Lowlander, Wine Finish, Talisker (Skye), Cask Strength, Heathery, World (Irish).
The sugar of the barley is not forward in this bottle, but the balance between peat and malt, and the smoothness with which it comes off, make this a very satisfying dram.