Lagavulin 1991 Single Cask Whisky Review


Image courtesy: Diageo

In 1816, Lagavulin began legally distilling whisky on Islay.  Two hundred years later, the distillery released three limited edition whiskies to celebrate their important bicentennial.  First a lovely 8-year-old Lagavulin hit the market, a ode to the whisky famed writer Alfred Bernard tasted when he visited the distillery in the late 1800s.  Then a tribute to Lagavulin’s distillery managers was bestowed among us, an exquisitely crafted 25-year-old Lagavulin that was matured exclusively in ex-sherry casks.  It turned out to be my favorite whisky of 2016.

Now, the third and final 200th anniversary release of Lagavulin is a single cask bottling, distilled in 1991.  It’s the rarest of the three releases, with only 522 bottles available.  It’s also the priciest, costing roughly $1860 a bottle.  The best part?  In a classy move, Lagavulin owner Diageo is donating all proceeds from this release to various Islay charities.

This Lagavulin bottling won’t be available in stores.  You have to head over to The Whiskey Exchange and sign up for a lottery by February 12th, so go there now if you’re interested.  Entrants will be picked randomly for a chance to buy a bottle. 

Still undecided?  Trust me, it’s a killer.  The nose on this cask strength beauty (52.7%) is full of juicy tropical fruit (especially pineapple), campfire smoke, toasted barley, and burnt orange peel, with hints of dried fruit and leather in the background. A little airtime reveals lovely toffee notes.  The palate is quite the stunning kaleidoscope of flavors.  An initial burst of citrus and brown sugar lend to slightly tame peat smoke, mulled wine, spice and some herbs.  “Beef brisket slow cooked over a wood fire” paints a rough picture.  Soon after, hints of leather, sherried fruit and oak spice show through.  The long, satisfying finish has smoked sherried fruits, followed by slightly astringent oak tannins and a final refreshing mint note.

Like I said, killer.  Not everyday Lagavulin releases a single cask whisky.  Fans of the distillery with deep pockets won’t want to miss this soon-to-be legendary whisky.  To those of you who end up lucky enough to own a bottle, for the love of whatever you consider holy, open this whisky and revel in its aromas and flavors.  Remember, whisky is meant to be enjoyed, not stared at.


Thanks to Lagavulin for the sample!  As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.


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