Lagg Inaugural Release 2022 Batch 1 Single Malt Scotch Whisky (700ml)
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Lagg Inaugural Release 2022 Batch 1 Single Malt Scotch Whisky (700ml)

Isle of Arran, SCOTLAND
$199. 00
$2388.00 Dozen
ABV: 50%

Better known for their unpeated single malts, Isle of Arran Distillers are now making major moves in the peated category, shifting part of their production to a completely new site solely dedicated to the exploration of smokey whiskies. Opening in 2019, Lagg's entire output lands at 50ppm using mainland barley with peat sourced from across Scotland. Intent on rivalling Islay, experimentation won't stop there. Lagg may well source peat from around the globe. The aim is to explore the impact of terroir on whisky flavour.

Leading the charge at what is the first distillery on the southern tip of the Isle since 1837 is Graham Omand, the newly appointed Distillery Manager who spent close to a decade as a stillman at Arran under the guidance of his uncle, Master Distiller James MacTaggart. Growing up on Islay gave Omand an appreciation and fondness for peated malts in particular. He explains, “A lot of my family work in distilleries. When certain family members would come home their clothes would smell of peat, and when I drove around the island you’d smell peat. My old high school, Islay High School, is only a couple of buildings away from Bowmore distillery, so every Wednesday when the peat kiln was fired up, the village would get a nice blow of smoky flavoring. It was just ingrained from the get-go.”

There are three editions in the new Lagg line up, first offered via ballot at Arran's website as a collector's triptych. The ballot has since closed and UK retail allocations have largely sold out. We're offering the three batches separately. All come bottled un-chill filtered and at a higher than usual strength of 50% ABV.

To showcase the qualities of the distillate, Batch 1 was matured in first-fill ex-bourbon casks for just over three years. It's an expressive dram offering aromas of pear drops, ripe orchard fruit, banana bread and dry, mezcal-like smoke that's echoed on the palate. Peat leads in the mouth, and it's a dense, robust, earthy variety that doesn't let up. The medium long finish adds hints of grilled pineapple, smouldering pine, elastoplast and spent tobacco while achieving a balance that defies its age. Akin to an Islay-Highland hybrid that also references Oaxaca, 10,000 bottles are on offer globally.

Other reviews... The whisky itself has a lovely golden colour. On the label, it states “heavily peated” – for those of you who might be put off by that statement, don’t be. The peat is certainly there on the nose but it’s subtle, with a hint of honeyed barley, oatmeal, and a floral note. To taste, it shows its youth and at 50% there is a bite to it, but there is a robustness to it with that honeyed barley, a touch of baked apple and of course an integrated peat smoke flavour. Add a little water to the whisky and it opens up, with all of those flavours and more but at the same time softening that youthfulness. If this is the first batch from Lagg then I for one look forward to seeing what Graham and his team can produce. -