Lagavulin Batch 1 (TBWC)

Screen Shot 2015-10-23 at 17.47.05Distillery: Lagavulin
Bottled: 2015
Age: ???
ABV: 54.5%
Bottler: That Boutique-y Whisky Company
More Info: WhiskyBase

Here’s a rarity! An indie bottling of Lagavulin.

Nose: Tequila in porridge (a great breakfast favourite of mine), salted oatcakes, sourdough and marzipan.

Palate: More tequila notes, perhaps with grappa. Dry smoke wafts through candied lemons and tart, tangy plums.

Finish: Oaky and buttery with more peat tang and sea salt.

I’m sorry to say, this is too young for the price. Those white spirit notes of tequila are classic signs of young/new make whisky. They’re not unpleasant per se, but you get better notes with age.

Lagavulin spirit is excellent, as far as new make goes. But it needs longer than this in cask before it’s ready for drinking. I’d guess this is around the 5 or 6 years old mark. That might work for more robust distillate like Kilchoman but Lagavulin needs more time.

Sorry chaps at Master of Malt, but this isn’t a winner for my money! 500ml for £100. I’d rather have 700ml of 12 year old and have cash to spare…

Ardbeg Batch 5 (TBWC)

Distillery: Ardbeg
Bottler: Master of Malt
ABV: 47.5%
Bottles: 23
More Info: Master Of Malt

Oh my.

It’s always fun to sample an interesting Ardbeg. This time it’s another batch from the chaps at Master of Malt.

Their Boutique-y whiskies are from mystery casks bottled independently and adorned with clever cartoon labels, usually depicting an in-joke of the whisky world. Sadly they keep the details (including the age) to themselves, but the whisky in the bottle is usually of a high standard and full of character.

Much as I love them, this should be quite a departure from the current core Ardbeg expressions…

Nose: The smell fills the room! There’s that distinctive Ardbeg coal tar (though it’s a fair bit more restrained than in Ardbeg 10), rubber shoe soles, candle wax, lemon cough drops, eucalyptus, pineapple chunks, rock salt, and fresh boot polish. With time, more delicate notes of wild flowers and dry grass.

Palate: Sooty and sweet! Quite creamy, cereal-rich, and malty to start. Then bakery notes of gingerbread, spiced treacle, and malt loaf developing into soft fruit, dark coffee and chocolate fudge, all against a backdrop of gentle sticky peat.

Finish: Salty smoke and hazelnuts with dry liquorice root, damp wood and earthy peat.

This is fucking classy. Like a really excellent dessert course after a posh meal. A fine mix of smoke and dark, rich cake in a glass. Pretty much exactly what I wanted from this dram – all those lovely Ardbeg characteristics but toned down with subtlety and elegance and some fun bonus notes along the way.

I wish MoM would tell us more about this batch but that’s just not the way they roll when it comes to Boutique-y Whisky. It’s certainly tastes like it’s a decent age. I’m guessing it’s at least 18, though that’s pure speculation on my part…

If you’re an Ardbeg lover, I’m afraid all 23 bottles are now gone but there’s still some samples left as I write this. £19.45 isn’t such a bad price for a sample, and I’m sure you’d be asked to pay that for a glass of Haig club on a night out in London anyway.