Peated scotch icon Lagavulin is preparing to ship out a new quarter-century-old expression of its smoky single malt. Lagavulin 25 will arrive this year in commemoration of two centuries of the distillery's existence. Lagavulin has released the 25-year-old bottles in the past, and you can find them online for hundreds of dollars. But this is the first one to include only whisky that's been aged in sherry casks: the unofficial gold standard of aging vessels in scotch whisky.
Sherry casks are highly prized because while whisky demand has risen, sherry production hasn't kept up, leaving Scottish whisky makers to use bourbon barrels and other vessels instead. When you do get a whisky aged in sherry casks, it’s rich, nutty, deeply flavorful, with hints of toffee and dried fruits.
Twenty-five years resting in sherry casks mellows out Lagavulin's iconic smoky flavor without covering it up.
Lagavulin is one of eight distilleries in the Islay region of scotch producers — most well-known for their peat use. The peat is extracted from bogs on the island of Islay, dried, and burned in kilns to create smoke as the malted barley is dried and prepared for grinding.
This rare release is bottled at cask strength (no word on the exact proof). Only 8,000 bottles are being produced, and the U.S. is getting about 1,200 of them in total. They'll arrive later this year and retail for a wallet-clenching $1,200.
Lagavulin is releasing the product in part to commemorate their 200th anniversary. Earlier this year they also released a limited edition 8-year-old Lagavulin (which is a lot more affordable).
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