Whisky Review: Lagavulin 26 Year The Lion’s Jewel

, | February 27, 2022

Editor’s Note: This whisky was provided to us as a review sample by Diageo. This in no way, per our editorial policies, influenced the final outcome of this review. It should also be noted that by clicking the buy link towards the bottom of this review our site receives a small referral payment which helps to support, but not influence, our editorial and other costs.

The 2021 Diageo Special Releases are here. The latest collection strays from the repetitive Rare by Nature and delves deep into thematic fables, or Legends Untold. Eight legendary Scottish distilleries are featured in the Special Releases, and the collection includes some of the most expensive whisky since the 2017 collection. 

The mythical creatures relate to the distilleries based on “the hidden gems that can be found in each corner of the Scottish terrain amongst the lochs and rugged highlands.” The Lion’s Jewel is the first 26-year-old whisky released from Lagavulin. With 7,542 bottles available, the limited-edition whisky is the most expensive in the 2021 Diageo Special Releases. If you want to claim the jewel for yourself, you will need $2,400. 

So how did this legend arise? Well, as the fable goes, “hidden within his den on Islay bay, The King of Islay guarded a gem of precious worth. The resplendent stone glowed ruby red, glistening with lustre. Won through decades of fire and ferocity, it reflected an alluring warmth and smouldering intensity – the captivating nature of Lagavulin.”

The Lion’s Jewel features a beautiful illustration of a fiery sky with a stoic lion guarding his ruby in a cave. Ken Taylor has captured haunting details of this legend with his masterful artwork. Diageo goes a step further with a QR code that unlocks an immersive tasting experience and gives life to Taylor’s illustration.

Lagavulin 26 Year The Lion's Jewel review

Lagavulin 26 Year The Lion’s Jewel (image via Malts.com)

Tasting Notes: Lagavulin 26 Year The Lion’s Jewel

Vital Stats: 44.2% ABV. Islay single malt matured in first-fill Pedro Ximenez and Oloroso seasoned casks. 750ml $2,400. 

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Appearance: Chestnut

Nose: Faint smoke and oak start the nose off but dissipate to reveal sweet marzipan and amaretto. Chocolate notes on the side of creme de cacao grace the dram with orange oil. 

Palate: Tar and oak touch my taste buds first. The whisky is nutty and sweet with honeycomb. Orange zest stays throughout the dram, however, ash is more abundant and somewhat overpowering. 

The Takeaway
5

Summary

The Lion’s Jewel is a crowning achievement. I find it a little sweeter than other Lagavulins, but the flavor profile is versatile. It makes me want to pair it with baked brie. At its natural cask strength, the 26-year-old whisky is perfect as is.

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User Review
5 (1 vote)

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Courtney Kristjana

Courtney Kristjana is a leading whiskey taster in the country. She left a career in Gerontology after an article on Heather Greene inspired her to follow her passion for whiskey. She is studying to become a Master of Scotch and someday hopes she is nominated for the Keepers of the...