Lagavulin 1985
21 Year Old Sherry Cask

70cl / 56.5%
  • Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky
  • Distillery Bottling
Lagavulin 1985 / 21 Year Old / Sherry Cask
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£3,000 £2,500 ex VAT (£4,285.71 per litre)
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Customer Rating
A legendary Lagavulin, originally released in 2007 - and it's to be the last fully sherried release, we're told. Boasting 95 points on Whiskyfun, this has become incredibly sought-after.
Distillery Bottling
21 Year Old
Bottling Date
No of Bottles

Lagavulin 1985 Reviews

Tasting Notes

  • Tasting Notes by TF

    Nose:  Awesome.  Demerara, herring, molasses.  Like kippers dug out of a waterlogged peat bog and soaked in dark golden syrup.  Just incredibly rich and continually evolving.  I couldn't put it down for fear of missing something, but it's impossible to keep up.  Honeycomb, citrus, fudge, toffee, vanilla, cigar leaf, dusty oak, candied orange peel, ginger, toast, freshly cut peat, dried turf, woodsmoke, acacia - there's too much going on in here.  An embarrassment of riches.  Ranks with the Oddbins Bowmore 1964 Oloroso as the most utterly flawless nose these nostrils have yet encountered.  May even have edged it.

    Palate:  Not as sweet as the nose, maybe not quite as rich. But still immense, still better than anything I've had for a very very long time. Perhaps nothing could live up to a nose as perfect as that, but this comes bloody close and almost succeeds.  Circuits are fusing in my head by now, and writing notes seems almost futile, but I'll try:

    Brine, sea-spray, coal-dust.  Quite dry, yet honeyed.  A brief fish course of freshly-smoked kippers, then a spicy, peppery rush.  Then the rest of the flavours from the nose start swirling around, dancing forward, retreating, merging together.  Yet it never loses its way - in fact it's almost rhythmic (careful, Tim!).  Everything seems to be in its proper place, patiently waiting for your attention.  Then it's off again. Peat here - syrup over there.  The most perfectly rounded maltiness.   Integration is perfect, the concentration almost unparallelled. The texture is stunning. A whisky one swallows with severe regret.

    Finish:  Again, immense.  Takes an eon to slowly fade out, and it's still too soon.  Words struggle to do justice to this (well my words do, anyway). 

    Comment: A salutary experience for the soul as well as the tastebuds.  Apologies if these notes seem a little OTT, but may I never get so jaded and cynical that I can't allow myself to be occasionally blown away by something of this quality.



  • Tasting Notes from Whiskyfun (Serge Valentin)

    The 16yo has long been to Lagavulin what the 911 was to Porsche but we’re more than happy to see more variants coming out, especially since those are more Turbos than Boxters in our opinion... Okay, enough crappy analogies, let’s try this brand new 21yo, due for later this autumn (we already had a taste of a pre-vatting at the Islay Festival).

    It’s an important bottling, as it comes from Spanish sherry European oak casks only – not American oak like often with sherry. Besides, we’ve been told that there won’t be any other ‘full sherry’ versions in the future.

    Colour: full amber.

    Nose: what is striking are the obvious common roots between the old 12yo and this new 21yo. This one is more ‘direct’ at first nosing, though. Sweeter, creamier, immediately on peat plus sherry plus the assembling of both (if you see what I mean)... Simple? Indeed, but just for a few seconds, as it then starts to shoot aromatic arrows one after the other. Menthol, hazelnut oil, oxtail, prunes, orange marmalade, smoked ham, curry, mustard (hints), walnut liqueur. Slight hints of phosphorus (although not like a ‘simple’ bunch of matchsticks). And it goes on, getting wilder now... Game (just like in the old 12yo), eucalyptus (I know brands are not cool but I’d dare to say ‘Vicks’)... And then strawberry jam, sea water... Please take your time when you’ll try this one, the development is ‘very gradual’ but it’s really worth it. A fireworks show.

    Mouth: here’s the punch that the 12yo was lacking, but also a slight ‘brutality’ at the attack. A true peaty grip in fact and an extreme ‘ampleur’. Quite some pepper, walnuts, crystallised ginger, strong liquorice, tar, mint and eucalyptus sweets again (very bold!), bitter oranges... And a powerful smokiness. The saltiness grows bolder as well... No sulphur that I can get... Wood ashes, herb liqueurs (green Chartreuse – are you listening, O.?), Havana tobacco (like when you chew your cigar). Also hints of ripe gooseberries and dried longans. And sticky toffee pudding, of course. Finish: very long, concentrated, ample, salty and liquoricy – amusing how this one makes you thirsty. We also tried it with water, it got more on mint and eucalyptus (and oranges) but other than that the general profile stayed the same. Who said this was an important bottling? 95 points.

14 Customer Reviews

  • Add Your Review
  • 5
    13 November 2017

    This one is all about balance and the layers that are uncovered with just a drip or two of water. Sublime depth and finish. It stays with you for so long. If I had more liquid assets I would have seeked out and acquired a few more of this liquid asset.

  • 5
    23 April 2017

    Bought a bottle some years ago from the distilery (?100)and drank the contents over the weekend....great experience but now at ?2000 a bottle maybe should have definately not..a 'whisky experience'that i will not be able to repeat.

  • Lg 12 May 2014

    Unbeatable sherry cask strength by Lagavulin. Not cheap anymore...

  • Kingsley, HK 1 February 2014

    This 21 years old Lagavulin much better than the 25 yrs & 30 yrs version. Absolutely outstanding. Buy it if you can find it! I mean the 21 yrs 1985/2007 batch.

  • Anonymous 21 November 2013

    It's a great taste !

  • Whiskyman, Malaysia 9 May 2013

    A "Legend" by Lagavulin...and prices gone up a lot nowadays!

  • saha 6 May 2013

    i am dissapointed with this @ this hefty price...there are lot better ones @ cheaper prices even...i don't like the nose @ all of this whisky,

  • Anonymous 12 April 2013

    Absolute perfection. Life is too short not to drink this.

  • Mallios 26 January 2013

    Tasted some years ago by Hellenic Malt Whisky Society and is truly one of the best ever malts to drink. As they say, one has to taste it in his journey of life. Strongest point was that it changes character with every drop of water (if you decide to add water). EXCELLENT!

  • Anonymous 5 April 2012

    my first taste in to premium whiskeys was this bottle. i never liked whiskey before till i was give a glass at T W E . a volcano of butterscotch thumpt my pallet .i spent 5 mins smelling the glass before my second taste. as daft as it sounds ,i was sitting on a mountian glen listening to baggpipes in my thoughts.the back of my thung was still singing a melody hours later. = priceless.

  • Anonymous 31 January 2012

    Best I ever hade! -tcpowell 31st jan '12

  • rwbenjey 7 December 2011

    I wish this wasn't so expensive....

  • Propaganja 22 January 2011

    A masterpiece!

  • Taffy Tilbury 16 October 2010

    Really remarkable, save on that week in Bognor and buy this instead.