Lagavulin 18 Year Fèis Ìle 2018

Peated Single Malt — Islay, Scotland

4.0 out of 5 stars
Yet another bonus sample from the SDT. Today we move a few miles down the road from Laphroaig to the equally famous, if not more so, Lagavulin distillery on the magical island of Islay. This is the 2018 release for the annual Feis Ile festival. An 18 year old bottled at 53.9% ABV and is most likely natural color of yellow gold and most likely non chill filtered. Initially the nose is very closed off with only light smoke and vanilla showing. After a little time there are apricots, yellow apples and after dinner mints. The smoke level increases, bringing with it a warm campfire, very light sherry notes, flat cola, oak, earthy peat and burnt raisins. Letting it sit a good long while brings out powdered ginger and more vanilla. Nosing off of a fresh pour gives off dates, model airplane glue, pine resin and butter cream. Water is able to coax out lemon bars with a graham cracker crust, olive brine, soap and tangerines. The palate is super hot and peppery. Less smoke than anticipated. Cola, licorice, tannins, vanilla and ashy oak. Any fruit or sherry is completely covered by the intense heat. A generous amount of water and it tames this beast. Gentler and more refined. Smoky, light oak, but much of the depth is lost. Medium to full bodied mouthfeel that is hot, mouthwatering and then dry. The finish is long, smoky but not overtly so, a slight hint of bitterness and dry with a shaving of oak staves. It would seem as though cask strength Lagavulin is not really for me. I’m not too happy about that as I have a bottle of the 2015 12 year old waiting for me. Hope that one is more forgiving. Here I was hoping for more of a smoked meat/sweet BBQ profile, but it was mostly just hot and burnt. Less elegant that the 16 year old by a wide margin. 4.25 and thanks to @PBMichiganWolverine for the sample. Cheers
200.0 USD per Bottle
  • AntonioSchmid

    Had my fair share of Lagavulin cask strengths and loved some of them (Jazz Ed. 2017/Distillery Exclusive 2017/Sherry Single Cask 24 years) but agree with you that some of them are all about "raw power" and lack some depth. Unfortunately the 12 years was one of them but I don't remember which year it was.

  • PBMichiganWolverine

    @Generously_Paul It’s interesting to see the amount of oxidation in this, really mutes the flavors. I have a pour left, and had a tiny sip this weekend. Much more muted now