It was first produced in Bourbon county, Kentucky, and the name bourbon eventually became a general term for similar corn-mash whiskeys. Sour mashes, used mainly in bourbon production, are fermented with yeast, including a portion of previously fermented yeast; other whiskeys are made from sweet mashes, employing only fresh yeast. In the United States, straight whiskeys are named for the grains predominating in the mash, with at least 51 percent required for whiskeys designated as straight. If a mash of at least 51 percent barley malt is employed, the product is straight malt whiskey; if rye malt is used, it is straight rye whiskey. Straight bourbon mashes contain at least 51 percent corn; straight corn-whiskey mashes contain at least 80 percent. Combinations of similar straight whiskeys of different distillation periods or from different distillers are designated as blended, rather than straight. Whiskeys are consumed both unmixed and mixed in cocktails, punches, and highballs. The United States is the world’s largest producer and consumer of whiskey. I feel I should preface this review: I don’t know anything about Game of Thrones. I’ve never read the books. I’ve never watched a single episode. While the rest of the world has been going bonkers over “white walkers” and “the Iron Throne”—phrases I learned via Wikipedia—I have been doing…something else. Living under a rock, I guess. At first I thought that meant I shouldn’t review these whiskies, but then I reconsidered. The Internet is full of commentary, analysis, memes, and other detritus related to Game of Thrones. It doesn’t need more. And perhaps this glaring blind spot in my pop culture knowledge actually gives me an advantage as a reviewer, in that I can taste Diageo’s Game of Thrones releases simply as whiskies, not as some kind of titillating fan service. Some background, for those who have been living under neighboring rocks. Earlier this fall Diageo announced the release of several Game of Thrones-themed whiskies, including a range of eight single malts. Whiskies from Glendullan, Dalwhinnie, Cardhu, Royal Lochnagar, Oban, Talisker, Clynelish, and Lagavulin are all accounted for, each one representing a different house or group from the show.
Lagavulin is one of the three Kildalton Distilleries in the south of Islay and sits comfortably in between Ardbeg and Laphroaig at the “Hollow by the Mill”, translated from the Gaelic lag a’mhuilin. By 1837 there was only the one distillery, “Lagavulin” occupied by Donald Johnston. The still house was rebuilt in 1962 and incorporated the stills of the Malt Mill Distillery and in 1996 a new mashtun was installed, and automated controls put in place. The visitor centre dates back to 1998 and was established in the buildings that once were the maltings and kiln of Malt Mill Distillery. Lagavulin Single Malt Whisky is characterized by its strong peat flavour and iodine overtones. The iodine flavour tends to divide tasters into love it or hate it groups with no middle ground, and it may not be suitable for new Scotch drinkers. The standard Lagavulin single malt is 16 years old, though they have also released a 12 year old cask strength variety, as well as their Distiller’s edition, finished in Pedro-Ximenez casks. Phenol levels running at 40 p.p.m. Lagavulin is produced by White Horse Distillers which is owned by United Distillers & Vinters which in turn is owned by Diageo plc. Lagavulin was chosen to represent Islay Single Malts in UDV’s Classic Malts of Scotland.
But underneath that, there’s a great big ocean of sweet, caramelized malt, all baked apples and cobbler crust. Plenty of industrial character, too—soot, rubber, hot electrical equipment, and that magical, grimy petrichor of a dirty urban sidewalk after a summer’s rain. Palate: You know that saying “turns to ashes in your mouth? ” This is like the opposite. At first, it’s like a mouthful of recently extinguished ashes—charred, powdery, astringent—but then a lush, maritime garden quickly comes into Technicolor focus. Basically, Lagavulin 16 tastes just like a real boat: varnish, diesel, salty nets, ocean spray, and the sticky lanolin-rich smell of a thick wool sweater a hardworking man has been wearing one too many days in a row. Over several minutes in the glass, ghosts of fruit emerge—orange and red cherry, mostly—but never seem to break through the low-hanging haze. That’s alright – a suggestion is enough. Lagavulin 16-Year-Old is satisfying in a way that many other things are not. You might not like it, but if you enjoy whisky, it is essential for you to buy a bottle of Lagavulin 16, and drink it. It might take you the rest of your life, but it’s important.
This is one of those rare, perfect occasions on which the essence of this story can really, truly be communicated by the headline alone. Nick Offerman, painted bronze, slowly sipped Lagavulin at a Chicago Blackhawks game. That’s it. That’s what happened. Look at the picture. The once and forever star of the world’s best yule log video last night recreated that experience before a Chicago Blackhawks game. The “statue induction ceremony” (hence the bronze), hosted by former Blackhawks Patrick Sharp and Adam Burrish, began when a curtain unveiled the “statue,” which was, I remind you, actually just Nick Offerman, painted bronze. Then the “statue” proceeded to slowly sip whiskey—like, very slowly—for 45 freakin’ minutes. Is this brand marketing? Absolutely. Does that make it less deliriously weird? There’s video of the event, which unfortunately can’t be embedded, but you can watch it on Lagavulin’s Facebook page. Later, Offerman did a shoot-the-puck contest, but again, who cares, he was covered in bronze paint and sipping whiskey for 45 minutes. Lagavulin is a good whiskey, Nick Offerman is a cool dude, Ron Swanson would never, and the Blackhawks lost to the Calgary Flames, 3-2. That concludes this piece of journalism.
Each stage lends different qualities to the resulting single malt whisky. The traditional casks soften and add delicate character, the sherry wood brings depth and fullness of flavour and the final few months in our tuns allow the whiskies to marry harmoniously. 2017. I thought it would be interesting to compare the scores on an open 2014 bottling (had been open for about 3 ½ years) to a brand new 2017 DoubleWood 12 Year Old bottle. We have scored the 2014 bottling seven different times between us in the Proper Pour Whisk(e)y Club- twice known for me and twice completely blind; for Jeremy, he tasted the 2014 known twice and blind once. ] of the 2014 bottling it was tasted and scored 10 times by 7 different people in the club (I for example tasted it all three times). The average of those 10 scores was 87.7 points (rounded from 87.67 – you’ll understand the reasoning for the detail here later). Club members had not interacted with the 2014 bottle for 28 months before we tasted from the last third of the bottle again this past January.