Prima & Ultima Collection Lagavulin 25 Year Old 1997
The final memory of a golden year at the distillery, 1997, when third generation distillery manager Mike Nicolson was custodian of the Lagavulin legacy. This is Lagavulin as it should be, mature, rich and in its pomp, a beautifully rounded example of the power and majesty of this Islay malt.
Appearance: Pure 18 ct gold. Excellent beading, good legs.
Nose: A mellow nose in feel, with light prickle at first. The first impression is of full-on phenolic aromas that are both medicinal, as with sticking plasters and carbolic, and smoky, suggesting a fragrant birchwood bonfire. Gradually notes of camphor and linseed oil are added, along with a fragrant bergamot that calls to mind lapsang souchong tea. Maritime notes of salt crystals and dry sand provide a firm base. A drop of water increases the prickle and emphasises the smokiness.
Palate: At natural strength, the texture is quite light and smoothly oily, while the taste starts sweet then becomes more saline, lightly vegetal and drying, with smoky pungency then billowing through. An easy balance between sweetness, saltiness and smoke is maintained throughout. Adding a little water brings up the sweetness at first, though the smoke still comes through.
Finish: Long, clean, sweet and smoky, with more smoke in the aftertaste. Softer with water, but still rounded and warming, the late smoke becoming more charcoal-like.