Monday 11 March 2019

Tasted #446: Lagavulin "Casks of Distinction" 23yo bottled for Vincent Leung of Ginger and Rex Tong of Whisky Lovers HK

A few weeks ago I wrote about a stunning 35yo Clynelish bottled under Diageo's "Casks of Distinction" programme*, for Dram Good Stuff (a Hong Kong whisky store) and Aaron Chan (renowned HK whisky collector and owner of Club Qing whisky bar). 

Stunning though it was, it's not the only "Cask of Distinction" bottling to hit HK recently, with Vincent Leung (of HK's other great whisky enthusiast bar, Ginger) and Rex Tong (of Whisky Lovers HK / Ming Kee Wine Cellar) recently bottling a 23yo "Select Cask" 1995 Lagavulin.

("Select Cask" being Diageo's terminology for whisky bottled from a single cask that potentially contained a vatting of multiple casks, versus "Single Cask" which refers to whisky matured in one single cask for its entire life. Under SWA regulations, both are technically still considered "Single Casks" and allowed to be labelled as such.)

Vincent and Rex recently invited me to Ming Kee Wine Cellar for a taste, which I graciously accepted.

1995 Lagavulin 23yo "Casks of Distinction"Select Cask #9001 exclusively bottled for Vincent Leung and Rex Tong (48.7% ABV, 23yo, Islay, bottle 254 of 396)
Colour: Vibrant yellow gold.

Nose: Pear fruitiness initially, then some dried oak, wood spice and dusty sherry. There's slight hints of peat, but it's sweet fruity peat. It's a beautiful nose, but not one you'd typically associate with a Lagavulin.

Palate: Grilled / BBQ'd pineapple rings. There's smoke, but it's fruity, meaty. There's an underlying confectionary sweetness (pineapple chews, yellow jelly babies), then slight hints of white pepper and lemon peel emerge. There's oak (but never too dominant), icing sugar and some orange zest.

Finish: Long, sweet pineapple smoke.

Rating (on my very non-scientific scale):  92/100. Not at all what I'd expected, and nothing like any other Lagavulin I've tried before...but that just makes an already delicious whisky even more interesting.

Well done to Rex and Vincent on the cask selection. Anyone wanting to try this will find it occasionally open at Ginger whisky bar in Hong Kong.

* For more about the "Casks of Distinction" programme, see our visit to Johnnie Walker House Singapore post.


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