Celebrating 200 Years of Lagavulin Scotch Whisky

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MELBOURNE | Lagavulin Scotch Whisky celebrates its 200th birthday this year, and The City Lane was invited to an event at cocktail bar 1807 to help them celebrate. Were we interesting in sampling some of Ron Swanson’s favourite whisky* and seeing what the birthday celebrations held? Of course we were! But first, a bit of history.

Lagavulin has one of the the longest distillation and maturations of any scotch whisky and being an Islay whisky it’s full of peated malt characteristics. Lagavulin is also known for its iodine undertones, which tends to be divisive – if you love peated whiskys you’ll probably love Lagavulin but if you don’t this probably isn’t the one that will change your mind.

An interesting fact that we found out on the night is that back in the late 1800s the majority of whiskys were blended and only a few distilleries were making single malt whiskys. When famed whisky author Alfred Barnard did his tour of the distilleries in the UK and released his 1887 book, The Whisky Distilleries of the United Kingdom, which documented his discoveries, he commented that Lagavulin was “one of the few Highland whiskys that can be drunk alone”.

At the event, we were able to sample the 16yo, which is the best known of the Lagavulin whiskys along with the 12yo and the 8yo, a limited release created specially for the brand’s 200th birthday. All were definitely very peaty but all were delicious, especially the 8yo. Paired with oysters, the whisky was an absolute treat to enjoy. The highlight of the night, whisky and the whisky cocktails aside, was the distillery tour.

Distillery tour in a bar you say? Well get this, in the basement bar of 1806 were a number of Occulus Rift Virtual Reality headsets. Guests were invited to put them on and were transported to the Lagavulin distillery in Islay, Scotland. It was a complete 3D experience an no matter which direction you turned, it was as if you were at the distillery. As were were talked through what we were seeing while “walking” through the distillery, smells were sprayed into the air around us to make the experience even more real. Impressive stuff indeed.

Here’s hoping that the 8yo Lagavulin gets a wider release in the future and doesn’t remain limited. We were given a small bottle to enjoy at home and it’s already almost finished.

https://youtu.be/-XepXmESQ4k

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Paul
Paul
Paul founded The City Lane back in 2009 as a place to share photos of his travels around Europe with friends and family. The City Lane might have changed quite a lot since those early days but one thing that’s remained constant is Paul’s passion for food, travel and culture, and a desire to photograph and write about his experiences. Paul has a strong inquisitive nature that drives him to look beneath the surface in order to discover what really makes a city and its people tick, and what better way to do this than over a good meal or drink, with a city’s locals, at places that people who live in that city actually frequent. Paul is also a co-host of The Brunswick Beer Collective, a podcast that may or may not actually be about beer.

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