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Classic of Islay (Lagavulin)

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Classic of Islay (Lagavulin)

Postby afviper » Thu Mar 22, 2007 6:47 am

I was going to buy a Laphroaig QC when I stumbled upon a website that sells a whisky called Classic Of Islay (Lagavulin) there are 12, 15, 21, and 26 year old versions, all at 92 proof. I then did some research to try and find out if this version of Lagavulin is any good, and came up with close to nothing. I did find a few pictures of the bottle, although it was a cask strength version that is probably only available in Europe. The 12 year is the bottle that interests me since the price is around the same as the Laphroaig QC at $45.

Here are tasting notes from Charles Perry of the LA Times from an article he wrote on independent bottlings. (no idea who he is, someone else might)

Classic of Islay (Lagavulin), 12 years old, Vintage Malt Whisky Co., $44.95
Extremely distinctive, with a powerful, smoky nose of peat and iodine; rounded, mouth-filling and dry on the palate, with a long finish. 92 proof.

I am just hopping someone on here has tasted on of these bottlings, or heard something about them.
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Postby kallaskander » Thu Mar 22, 2007 9:48 am

Hi there,

http://www.jwww.de

Jack Wiebers is a German independent bottle who has a malt called Classic of Islay which is said to be sherry cask matured Lagavulin.
I do not know about the whole range and have not yet tried one of them but I always hear that the young ones without age statements are very good.

Greetings
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Postby mikeymad » Thu Mar 22, 2007 5:46 pm

Hello,

'ganga' and I have tried several of these:

Classic of Islay NAS (40%, Vintage Malt Whisky, Lagavulin) rated 4/10
Classic of Islay 12yo (46%, Vintage Malt Whisky, Lagavulin) rated 5/10
Classic of Islay 21yo (46%, Vintage Malt Whisky, Lagavulin) rated ?/10

We found them all to be good. With the 21yo being very good. We have some taisting notes, but it will have to wait until I get home from work (and find them).

Cheers,
Last edited by mikeymad on Thu Mar 22, 2007 10:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby afviper » Thu Mar 22, 2007 7:46 pm

You said you found them to be good but only rated the 12 a 5/10 which seems to be very low, are they worth buying over the Laphroaig QC? Or other Islays in the same price range? Its just that I want to try Lagavulin, but the price has been keeping me away, this seems to be a cheaper alternative.
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Postby mikeymad » Thu Mar 22, 2007 10:31 pm

afviper wrote:You said you found them to be good but only rated the 12 a 5/10 which seems to be very low, are they worth buying over the Laphroaig QC? Or other Islays in the same price range? Its just that I want to try Lagavulin, but the price has been keeping me away, this seems to be a cheaper alternative.


Sorry, I should not post our (ganga and myself) ratings scale without explaining our scale. Unlike most scales published ours is used from the bottom of a Zero all the way to the 10. To give you an idea:

10 Malt O' The Gods
8 Excellent
6 Very Good
4 Drinkable
2 Sucks
0 Undrinkable

And yes we have 10's and yes we have zeros.

Now in my posting I mentioned the 21yo. This is a mistake and I should edit the listing. I happen to be thinking of the 21yo Dram Select for some reason.

Alas I have a bottle of QC but I have not tried it yet. From my experience with the Classic of Islay it does not even match up with the standard Laphroaig 10yo, much less the QC which is rated higher by many. As far as the Lagavulin, the Classic 12yo @ 46% will give you a small idea of what Lagavulin is about (the peat part), but it is no were near the complexity of the standard 16yo (which is a 9/10 on our scale).

Cheers
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Postby afviper » Thu Mar 22, 2007 10:41 pm

Thanks for the info, and explanation of your ratings. I would prefer that a rating from 0-10 would be more common, it gets difficult to choose between a few bottles when most of them are rated 7.5-8.5. I will probobly go for the QC since I have the Laphroaig 10 and like it.
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Postby mikeymad » Thu Mar 22, 2007 10:56 pm

Good man.
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Postby Admiral » Sat Mar 24, 2007 12:49 pm

I'm not questioning the authenticity of this bottling, but be careful of unnamed Islay malts that claim to be Lagavulin. There's a lot of them out there, and their appeal goes up 100-fold the moment a rumour starts floating around that the whisky comes from Lagavulin.
Whether they actually are or not is something that can rarely be confirmed with certainty.

Cheers,
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Postby Deactivated Member » Sun Mar 25, 2007 2:34 am

Actually, I'm surprised that they aren't all rumored to be Ardbeg now. I suppose Ardbeg, despite its huge rep in sm circles in recent years, still hasn't made the impression in mainstream culture that Lagavulin has. The latter is still probably the Islay lover's most common gateway dram, while many people still haven't even heard of Ardbeg.
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Postby Admiral » Sun Mar 25, 2007 8:19 am

Actually, I think it has more to do with the fact that there are so few OB expressions of Lagavulin out there. And even IB expressions are pretty thin.

So there's more appeal in rumouring that the contents might be Lagavulin, because for fans of that distillery, there are so few different bottlings out there to explore.

Cheers,
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Postby Deactivated Member » Sun Mar 25, 2007 11:20 am

:idea: Good point.
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Postby Spirit of Islay » Sun Mar 25, 2007 1:18 pm

I believe this line are Lagas but Admiral (once again) has smacked the nail bang on the head , for as long as i can remember i've been saying the same . On other forums it was always cropping up , of course shops are gonna say "oh yes it's a lagavulin" simply because the till will be a ringing but if they say it's a Caol Ila (which 9 times out of ten it usually is !) people will go "oh well i'll pass on it" (others that is , not me , i love CI ) . I bet in a blind tasting a lot of people couldn't distinguish between a young Laga and a young CI .
Regarding un-named Ardbeg releases , i only know of 2 non-attributable Islay bottlings that have contained Ardbeg , there are rumours in America of another one (Ellenstown ?) but until tried i'm very wary of these because the "Odd" cask from one distillery can taste like something totally different in my experience .
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Postby Ize » Mon Mar 26, 2007 7:26 am

I've had gone though same thoughts as Gordon illustrates, most (almost all) can not separate Lagavulin from Caol Ila in blind test. Therefore some unbranded(?) IBs even first buy the stuff from Lagavulin and later on start to buy Caol Ila. It can be seen from some German dealers, first they might have information (Lagavulin) on their website which later on change to (Caol Ila).
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Postby Lawrence » Mon Mar 26, 2007 4:38 pm

It's true, there are dramatically more IB Caol Ila's on the market than Lagavulin's so it would follow than any 'blind' bottlings would be Caol Ila.
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Postby Di Blasi » Mon Mar 26, 2007 11:06 pm

I thought no casks of Lagavulin have ever been released. No independant bottlings of this distillery, or anything other than from the distillery itself. Is this true??
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Postby Spirit of Islay » Mon Mar 26, 2007 11:20 pm

.....Several Murray Mcdavid Missions ..... 16 SMWS's (had no 111.16).... Umpteen Italian Moon Import ones.... a few Cadenheads....Every non-attributable Islay Malt if you believe in rumours..... :wink:
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Postby Admiral » Tue Mar 27, 2007 4:16 am

I thought no casks of Lagavulin have ever been released. No independant bottlings of this distillery, or anything other than from the distillery itself. Is this true??


Gordon's already answered the question (with some great examples), but I think a more accurate statement today would be, "Lagavulin no longer sells its casks to the independents".

The SMWS, for example, have pretty much advised that they're unlikely to bottle it again any time soon.

Cheers,
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Postby Di Blasi » Tue Mar 27, 2007 11:49 am

Thanks for that info Admiral and Spirit of Islay! Sounds better.
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Postby bond » Wed Mar 28, 2007 2:14 pm

Admiral wrote:The SMWS, for example, have pretty much advised that they're unlikely to bottle it again any time soon.

Cheers,
ADmiral


And for good measure must say.

I would have disagreed with the observation that Lagavulin is the most common Islay malt. In fact in these parts of the world it was tough to get hold of a bottle till 2nd half of last year. In the early part of this decade one had to be content with Laphroaig and surprisingly Ardbeg is easily available in duty free shops.

Curiously, while Laga availability has increased it is still not found on duty free shops across Asia (including Singapore). But at least one is able to sample a dram when one feels like it today. Thank God for some sanity.

Cheers
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Postby Deactivated Member » Wed Mar 28, 2007 10:40 pm

bond wrote:I would have disagreed with the observation that Lagavulin is the most common Islay malt.


Not quite what I said or meant:

[Lagavulin] is still probably the Islay lover's most common gateway dram....
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Postby bond » Thu Mar 29, 2007 6:58 am

Correction. What I was implying is that in some parts of the world sheer non-availability of Lagavulin ensured that the most common gateway Islay was Laphroaig.

Of late, its a toss up between Lagavulin (thanks to improved availability) and Ardbeg. (surprisingly prolific)
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Postby Deactivated Member » Fri Mar 30, 2007 12:48 am

Yes, and with the shortages and price rises of Lagavulin in recent years, it's probably becoming less and less of the gateway Islay. But lots of us remember a time when a pub with the six Classics was considered to have a good selection, and I'd imagine that anyone who has been drinking malts for more than five years would most likely have been exposed to Lagavulin first, Laphroaig second, and Ardwhat?. I think on the whole that you're right, that Laphroaig has become the most accessible of these three (in terms of both availability and price) in most markets. It might be that Ardbeg will surpass Laphroaig very soon, unless the price goes up sharply.
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Postby Lawrence » Fri Mar 30, 2007 1:32 am

MrTattieHeid wrote: It might be that Ardbeg will surpass Laphroaig very soon, unless the price goes up sharply.


I think it's a safe bet that LVMH will be raising prices....................
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Postby Admiral » Fri Mar 30, 2007 4:45 am

I think it's a safe bet that LVMH will be raising prices....................


I know it's very tempting to think that, but personally, I'm not so sure. And I've picked up on a few industry comments here & there that suggest LVMH are treating their whisky portfolio with the respect it deserves.

Cheers,
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Postby bond » Fri Mar 30, 2007 6:41 am

As an Islay fan, I think Ardbeg is a trifle "underpriced". I would not mind paying a few extra dollars for a bottle. Apart from the superb body and mouthfeel, its a tough one to beat for consistency.
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