Lagavulin 8 (48%, OB 2016)

The Lagavulin 8 year-old was initially a limited release to celebrate the distillery’s 200th anniversary in 2016. Predictably, it was hugely successful and soon became part of the core range. The bottle I’m reviewing here is from the original batches. One thing to notice straight away is the extremely light colour – a very welcome sign given that Diageo are normally quite trigger-happy with the E150.

Nose: Extremely chiselled. Brine, lime juice, smoked seafood, bonfire smoke.

Palate: There’s no hint of the sweetness that balances the peat in the 16 year-old. Here, the smoke is completely naked – that is, savoury and salty, with all sorts of smoked seafood and kelp and a hint of tar.

Finish: Reasonably long, ashy and quite austere.

Comments: Lagavulin austerity at its purest. It lacks the complexity of the more familiar 16 year-old, but it more than makes up for it with its singular character and the huge quality to age ratio.

Score: 89/100

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