I totally agree with you Reggaeblues:
I absolutely LOVE Laga 21 - and i know what you mean about the nose: I still remember the first time I opened a bottle of it as it took over 30 minutes before I even worked up the courage to taste it!. It's one of my all time favourite whiskies and in the right mood, it's definitely my favourite whisky
And, while I really like Oogie, no batch that i have ever tasted has been as good as Laga 21 - period, BC Oogie included.
Also, Again I agree with you regarding JM's comments: if regular Laga 16 ranks 95 points, to me Laga 21 should rank about 106 points :p But, that being said, it's his "bible", he scoring, his personal taste, etc... And, I think it suffers a bit from recently reviewed products being compared against ones reviewed a few (or several) years earlier. Case in point is the Ardbeg Provenance. This is a whisky that simply has that great complexity and depth that the older Ardbegs have (and Laga 21 has as well).
Now, all of that being said, there is definitely something different about the L7 325 batch. The other day, we opened up a 2004 Oogie (L4 349 if I remember correctly) and it tasted exactly
how I remembered my first taste of Oogie to taste like (when I bought my first Oogie in 2005, also an L4 bottle). And, I have a half drank L4 bottle at home as well, that again, tastes very similar to the one that we opened the other evening (even though the one at my place has been open for about 3 years). These to me taste very similar: Ardbeg with sherry and a somewhat hot alcoholic (in a good way) shock (as described by the whisky writers
) Not sure how to describe it any other way than to see that I like it.
However, the L7 325 bottling seems to have a bit more of those Laga 21 qualities where the sherry is more integrated: i.e. it feels smoothly blended in, in layers, instead of being sherry vs. bourbon taste. This definitely isn't scientific (which is surprising since my background is physics :p), but it's the best way that i can describe it. Would I get the same results in a blind tasting? I don't know, but I think (hope!) that I would.
In the end, it's brought a great spirit to the attention (not that it already wasn't) to many people and hopefully made a few more people interested in Ardbeg. Obviously the marketing people are all over this and JM's hardly not biased considering that he makes his lively hood on reviews. But in the end, it's just one person's opinion that has a large audience; we have to make up our own minds: personally, I stick with my opinion which is that it's noticeably different than other Oogies that i've had and I think I like it better. But, while a great whisky (and one that i really enjoy drinking) it's not the best whisky I've ever tasted.
Reggaeblues wrote:I still wonder at the subjectivity of all this. Any uigeadal i've tasted has been great. I just wonder how I'd react if i was TOLD this was "the batch" in a roomful of learned whisky tasters all going "mmm,,,mmm this is THE batch" etc.
I know how my tastes change subtly...for example, if i haven't had a dram for a couple of days, even a normally "run of the mill" dram tastes great!
Just look at Jim Murray's review of the Lagavulin 21, which, lovely though the oogie is, I would rate as more exceptional and unusual. I was sent a sample, since i won't be able to afford a bottle in the near future...and it was akin to a religious experience! took me 20 minutes to get my nostrils out of the glass and TASTE the damn stuff!
but jim "got it wrong" first time, as he admits, gave it a low 80s...then revisits and gives it 96!
Oogie is great whisky, but i know my imagination plays tricks with me...and would this fuss exist over "the batch" if we hadn't been told about it? or maybe Jim's taste buds were particularly perky the day he tried it...
We may never know!