June 21, 2016

Lagavulin Feis Ile 2013

For the past two weeks we've been sipping some highly indulgent bottles, limited edition releases from Islay's annual spring festival Feis Ile. Caol Ila's 2015 Feis Ile bottle was a real treat, combining grace and fire with a powerful seventeen year cask strength offering. Lagavulin's 24-year Feis Ile release was simply mind-blowing, combining huge gentle peat smoke warmth with an incredibly sophisticated and elegant flavor profile.

This week, our friend Al Pop came to town to see the Belmont Stakes. I took him and his son Brock to Koreatown for some Bibimbap. And of course he had a whiskey surprise up his sleeve - Lagavulin Feis Ile 2013. Sweet! So why not continue our Feis Ile reviews and dive in. 

Tasting Notes

Nose: Distinctly sweeter than the 2015, it's starts with leather, smoke, and honey. Vegetal aromas follow like okra or fresh cut green beans. Then it tails off with pink peppercorns and rock salt. It's actually quite similar to the 2015 overall but with a more sweet fruit-forward character.

Palate: OMG Yum!  (ok perhaps that was less than professional, but damn this is good). It's got a huge mouth feel with some signature Lagavulin elements. The smoke and sea air are there. The little pops of citrus and melon. The old men's club stuff like creaky leather and tobacco are here big time. It's definitely got more punch than the 24 year, which is kind of awesome.

Finish: Extremely well balanced finish with lingering smoke, strawberry jam, and tobacco.

Head to Head with Lagavulin Feis Ile 2015

What a privilege to be able to taste these two beauties head to head. They're both just top top quality malts. The 2013 is sweeter, but also has more heat with a little spirit burn. The 2015 is pure elegance with perfect balance and no burn at all. But there's also something nice about the younger bottle, it's got more of the fire, a stronger finish, and definitely a more rounded taste with the additional sherry influence. We'd have to go with the 2015 as the winner, but these are both gems.


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