Malt in China returns, with a Lagavulin 16yo

9thAug. × ’10

Over half a year since the last entry – you’d think that there had been nothing to report on the whisky scene in China. Couldn’t be further from the truth, however laozi has been busy traveling between Beijing, Shanghai, Zhejiang, Jiangxi and Hong Kong. Some good whiskys along the way, but too little note taking….

Enough of the excuses, this post is coming to you from the excellent Cafe Alba (formerly Cafe E.A.T., formerly Lugar) where I have arrived early for a friend’s return to Beijing drinks. The whisky selection is still excellent, and new Danish manager Henrik is keen to expand further. Expect an interview with him some time in the future.

So I’m drinking a delicious 16 year old Lagavulin and wondering why I have ignored this distillery for so long. Last time I drank a Lagavulin was in 2006 in Shenzhen, when my colleague pulled a bottle from his suitcase and expounded the merits of this whisky. I’ve put some short tasting notes below, but in case you can’t be bothered to read further go to Alba and drink some!

Nose: oak, leathery, oily, not as smoky as expected or remembered – maybe too many other Islays have passed my lips since the last taste.
Mouth: smooth smoke, with sweet caramel hints. This is a very balanced – nothing like Ardbeg or Bowmore where the smokiness almost overpowers
Finish: liquourice flavours, dry, slightly numbing in a sichuan style. 麻酒? maybe a good adjective to use in China…

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