Lagavulin 26 Year Old Special Releases 2021 Single Malt Scotch Whisky, 70cl
The jewel in the crown of ‘The King of Islay’ is noble, generous and precious, understated yet rich in subtle, smouldering intensity; truly an exceptional gem of a whisky.
This lovely, mature single vintage malt, the first 26 year-old Lagavulin Special Release, perfectly expresses the rich first-fill Pedro Ximenez/Oloroso cask style and is quite delicious, sure in the knowledge that its balance and smooth tastes have been shaped and respected by the decades.
A deep-hued beech tree in autumn.
On the mellow nose a finely woven wine-woody aroma of great complexity takes time to yield its individual secrets. Light, fresh and vinous top notes mingle with the linseed oil of an artist’s studio then fade into a warm suggestion of sun-bleached polished mahogany, backed by dry edible seaweed, with sweeter hints of baked fig and butterscotch. Further in, the aromas grow more pungent, oily and fragrantly smoky; like going fishing, with background aromas of tarry rope and boat engine. If a little water is added, their intensity is reduced, while a note of clean linen survives best.
In the light, ultra-smooth and oily texture a sweetness briefly gleams, soon tinged with salt and pepper, the whole growing more savoury and smokier all the time. Here is all the precious sweet-smoky style of Lagavulin, in a glowing, well-rounded form. A drop of water, not needed, yet seems to heighten the harmony of flavours.
Long, sweetly warning and faintly smoky, as with smouldering beech leaves, leaving an aftertaste of chanterelle mushrooms. A drop of water introduces a little pepper, then the smokiness reasserts itself in the drying aftertaste.