[Review] Lagavulin - 8 years old 48%

After having mentioned it a couple of weeks ago in the Lagavulin 16 post, here it is finally, the Lagavulin 8 years old. This is the first release of the year for the distillery which celebrates its 200th anniversary. I had pre-ordered a bottle with the WhiskyShop a couple of months ago, but for around £50, I thought I would buy a second to open and hopefully enjoy, and here I am! You can probably already tell whether I like it or not just by looking at the amount missing from the bottle after a week or so... 
Many people commented how expensive the bottle was compared to the 16 year-old one, saying it would only be a money-making dram, selling young whisky with a limited edition badge on it, and to be perfectly honest, I wasn't sure what to expect either. I did ask about it at the distillery at Easter (they didn't have it in the shop or to try as it hadn't been released yet) and the people there told me it was a great whisky (I know, they couldn't really say otherwise, could they?!)
I opened the bottle when I collected it/them from the shop and was pleasantly surprised straight away. The colour is very pale and the nose is fantastic, and after the first dram, I knew I had made the right choice.

Despite stating on the packaging that it has been coloured (in German), this Lagavulin is very pale. It doesn't state the filtration used so I would presume it has been chill-filtered and it is bottled at 48% ABV.

Nose: Very engaging I find, maritime, vegetal, sweet, some peat, smoky with notes of smoked meat and some citrus.

Palate: Peaty, dry and sweet, lemon, honey, spices, smoked meat again, cereal. It is the first time I am transported straight to the distillery, amongst clouds of peaty smoke and this sensation lasts into the finish, wonderful!

Finish: Once again, dry smoky peat, still some sweetness too, citrus, and hints of mint.

With water: As often, the addition of a few drops of water gives a fruitier nose (honey and peach) and more lemon both on the nose and on the palate. The peaty/smoky/meaty side only properly appears on the finish

I am so glad I both 2 bottles of this Lagavulin 8 and am even wondering whether I'll manage to keep the 2nd bottle unopened for very long... I might just have to get a 3rd one! I think this dram is definitely worth the money and proves that older is not necessarily better. As much as I like the 16, I prefer the 8!
As an added extra, I decided to take a couple of picture of both 16 and 8 side by side. Look at the difference in colour! Having them now in 2 glasses, the 8 is fresher and crisper, more lively and raw. The 16 is more rounded, less smoky, more earthy, rounded and rich, sweeter. It has taken me time to get fully into Lagavulin, but I am definitely getting there! Slàinte!


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