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Lagavulin Distillers Edition, Double Matured, distilled 1989, bottled 2005 (Scotland)
The subject of ‘cask finishing’ can be a contentious one, with the practice of filling whisky into a secondary cask for a final period of maturation sometimes being used in an attempt to disguise whisky of indifferent quality. No such concerns attend Diageo’s range of ‘Distillers Edition’ whiskies, however, as these ‘double matured’ expressions represent the art of finishing at its very best and with ultimate integrity. In the case of Diageo’s flagship Islay malt Lagavulin, the casks chosen for a period of secondary maturation are former Pedro Ximinez sherry casks, and the influence of that rich, characterful sherry are more than a match for the powerful nature of Lagavulin, which could easily overwhelm lesser drinks. Smoky and mildly fishy on the nose, with big, sherried, stewed fruit and raisin notes. Full-bodied and rounded, the beautifully balanced palate displays a textbook marriage of Islay peat smoke and Spanish sherry. The finish is long, softly smoky and gently spiced. 43.0% ABV, 70cl, £45.00, specialist whisky merchants.

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