Birthdays. Whether you count down the days in excitement or dread them, every year we turn a bit older. There are however, certain milestones even the most crotchety of us feel the need to celebrate. When you turn 21 you go to the nearest bar and rip shots of the cheapest booze with your closest friends. When you turn 50, you realize that you have been alive for a half a century and buy a Mazda Miata.
But what would you do if you were turning 200?
Well one of our favorite distilleries had to answer that very question in 2016 and boy did they have a heck of an answer.
Lagavulin is a magnificent distillery that has been producing an unmistakable dram since 1816. 1816!! They have been making whisky in the same building since the year without a summer! The distillery is nestled right open to the ocean on the south eastern coast of Islay where the waves actually do often crash into the distillery walls.
Here on this magical Scottish island, Lagavulin produces a robust, smoky, fruity and layered style of single malt that has captured the love of many a whisky enthusiast around the world, while always making new fans out of anyone fortunate enough to enjoy their first glass. Their most famous and readily available expression is their 16 year old bottling which combines both whiskies matured in Bourbon and Sherry cask. It’s a beautiful whisky that has earned its spot on any scotch drinker’s shelf. But this is a big year for Lagavulin and boy did they go all out!
Even for seasoned Lagavulin fans, this is a one of a kind rare treat.
Lagavulin rarely releases anything this old and when they do it’s even more rare to see it in this capacity. Not that you’re likely to see it many places. They only bottled 12 barrels’ worth and of that only 2 barrels’ worth made it to the US. A 25 year-old malt aged 100% in ex-Sherry cask AND bottled at natural cask strength. That’s right. This Islay beauty comes in at a generous 51.7% AV (103.4 proof). This all combines to make a unicorn of a whisky. A cask strength sherry bomb with all the right smoky curves. Importantly, this bottle is Ron Swanson approved.
This is absolutely a bottle that you could buy, put up on your shelf and drool over for the rest of your life. Hoard it for yourself. Write love songs about it. Confess your love from the highest bog! Or…It might be a ton of fun to split the cost of this drinkable piece of history with a bunch of friends, get together for tasting of it, enjoy its epicness together and then fight over who gets to keep the beautiful bottle.
We were extremely excited to get some of this considering that only 1,200 bottles were allocated for all of the United States.. But we are even more excited to get to share it with some of you.
Think you want some? Click into the first day of the rest of your life.
The aromas jumps out and snuggle up with your nose while the palate delivers an array of flavors. Bacon wrapped dates over a fresh campfire with a hint of sea salt is the overall summary in one bite but man does thing deliver on so many levels. It’s oily and fat with a great gingery and tangerine pith start. Then the smoke drifts in and fills your head with charred sawdust, cured meat and dried figs. Rounding it all up with a powerful but soft, refined balance of slight dark fruit, honey, eucalyptus oil and iodiny salinity that just won’t stop knocking on your front door.
Jake Cahill, aka The Whiskey Warrior, is the Spirit Guide at Vanderbilt Wine Merchants. When not at the shop he can be found leading tastings and classes throughout NYC and is a regular guest on The Beastmaster's Club podcast. @jakecahill13