Friday, December 3, 2010

Review: Finlaggan Old Reserve

Finlaggan Old Reserve
Price: $20-$30
Strength: 40 %

You can be sure a whisky named "old reserve" is neither "old" nor "reserve".  Similarly so for any of the following descriptors you may find adorning your bottles: fine, finest, rare, best, special, or classic.

In any case, I had read good reviews of this elusive young Islay and took the opportunity when in New York City to grab a bottle for $25.  The nose hits you with huge peat, smoke, and iodine.  The distillery of origin is a secret, but Lagavulin seems to be the most guessed on whisky forums.  That seems a reasonable guess to me, as this definitely comes from heavily peated stock with significant medicinal  / seaside character.

Finlaggan OR is similar to Bowmore Legend but with a touch more peat and smoke.  It has the same faults: thin body, little complexity, and a finish that tastes like soggy cigarette ashes.  But if you want a heavily-peated bottom-shelfer for your cabinet, this might be the best whisky going.  81 points (B-).

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