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Thursday, 17 April 2008

A Rare prelude to Feis Ile 2008!

So... here we are- and very nearly a month away till Feis Ile 2008. Such is my excitement that i've taken to looking through last years pictures in my iPhoto library and that exciting tingle returns almost instantly: The sensational drive down through the Kintyre Peninsula to Kennacraig; The steak pie and thick cut chips on the ferry; and that almost eerie mistiness, as a far off Islay slowly looms into view. Squinting, you try and make out the Pagoda roofs of Ardbeg or that almost iconic 20 ft high black lettering... is it Laphroaig? or Lagavulin? Either way, nothing fully prepares you for that first trip to Islay or the Feis Ile.

It's with this in mind that we bring you a rare treat of a tasting. Joel and I were recently lucky enough to come by an extra bottle of Lagavulin's 2007 Feis Ile single cask offering. What better than to open it and share our thoughts with you!! Distilled in 1993 and bottled at cask strength (56.5%) from Cask 4893 it was limited to 700 bottles.

Lagavulin - OB - 14 YO - 56.5% - Feis Ile Bottling - Cask No. 4893 - 700 bottles

Nose: First notes give a splendid prickly brineiness, followed by delicate hints of peaty medicinal carbolic soap, heather and candle wax. The more you inhale, the more the brine gives way to a subtle cocoa and zesty orange. Perhaps not as perfectly balanced as the 16 YO but still a real treat to the nostrils.

Palate: Coal tar, dark chocolate, richly laced with layers of oily peat. Thick and syrupy, a hint of water opens this up with more notes of heather honey, leather and a tiny amount of chili.

Finish: Cereal notes, lead into a sweetness of more cocoa and soft muscovado sugar. I couldn't wait to finish this, simply to start over again with another mouthwatering dram!!

Overall: If you're lucky to ever find a kind-hearted-dram-fan with an open bottle of this, plead, no demand that they let you sample it!! You will not be disappointed. If we're not mistaken, this is the first single cask offering from the distillery and I dearly hope it's not the last - it made my Feis Ile last year and has started to get me all hot under the collar about this year's festival. 5 weeks to go and counting, eh...

- Neil