The display cabinet. One of the great pieces of furniture in the household of any whisky lover. There it stands, pride of place, its leaded lights allowing the proud viewer to see the rare and beautiful bottles, with their various coloured hues and seductive labels.
Perhaps there's a slight perversity about the above sentence in both senses of the word. 'Whisky Porn' has been known to strike many a middle-aged man at one time or another, so the sight of a few rare bottles sensually lined up next to each other is nothing new. What i'm really talking about is the proposition of hoarding whisky. We're all guilty of that. I'm perhaps more guilty than others. Essentially, we are depriving our fundamental senses of what these bottles of liquid gold are purely designed for; to be immeasurably enjoyed, to create lasting memories and perhaps more importantly - to be shared with the greatest of friends.
It is with this in mind that I decided to do something unusual last weekend. My small, but perfectly formed collection of Lagavulin bottlings was soon to be a 'man down' when I took this years' Feis Ile bottling to the eve of my best friends wedding in Broadstairs. As best man it was my responsibility to calm the nerves of Steve 'The Foremanator' Foreman before his spectacular and memorable day arrived- and I could think of only one first-class remedy.
Lagavulin Feis Ile 2008 bottling- distilled 1993 - Cask no. 1403 - bottle no. 0487 - 52.9% vol 70cl
Nose: Really delicate, with beautiful hints of bourbon, orange blossom, hints of luscious red wine and pear drops. Then the smoke arrives- sweet, amazingly well balanced peat, maple cure bacon, not at all like the usual but pleasant waxiness of the Laga 16 yo. Over time, with air and a drop of water hints of carbolic soap emerge, but it only adds to the full and fragrant bouquet. Simply stunning.
Palate: Powerful prickles of alcohol but then a subtle rose water arrives, more wine notes- not overly sweet like the nose, but zesty and light, more hints of orange, light and creamy chocolate develop into a salty back end. A real mouth filling tenderness right through.
Finish: Long, developing over the palate with fresh apple then hints of coffee bean and that classic light peated dryness.
Overall: So in keeping with the Laga family, yet so subtle and unique. This is a sensational cask and full praise and thanks to Mr Iain McArthur for unleashing it on the public. Very similar to the sister cask we reviewed in May, direct from the Feis Ile.
So as Steve jets off to Thailand with his lovely wife Morag, I hold up a freshly poured glass of this wonderful liquid and wish them both the very best of happiness for the future. I'm also starting to think about what to do with a certain Port Ellen I happened to pick up on Islay....Anyone out there in need of a best man??