Lagavulin Offerman Edition

“Lagavulin. Neat. Clear alcohols are for rich women on diets.”

                            ­– Ron Swanson, Parks and Recreation, Season 4, Episode 2, “Win, Lose or Draw”

The story goes that when coming up with characters for his hit sitcom ‘Parks and Recreation’, creator Michael Schur snuck in one autobiographical detail into the grouchy but loveable protagonist, Ron Swanson – his love of Lagavulin whisky. Coincidentally, the dram was also a favourite of Swanson actor Nick Offerman, who assumed the choice was purely to please him whilst filming.  It took several seasons before the coincidence was revealed, and the pair finally bonded over their shared love of what Swanson once called “God’s chosen elixir”.

Given that the same distillery also makes it into this reviewer’s Top 1, I know what my conversation starter will be should I ever meet either Offerman or Schur. (Incidentally, my conversation starter for when I meet Offerman’s Parks and Rec co-star Aubrey Plaza is a closely guarded secret that I’m not willing to share at this time, but I strongly believe it will lead on to cocktails before progressing to a romantic week in the Bahamas).

In the lore of Parks and Rec, Swanson ends up visiting and later owning the Lagavulin distillery, and from that marketing equivalent of an Open Goal comes the ‘Lagavulin Offerman Edition, 11-Year-Old Charred Oak Cask’.

This is the third edition to bear the (criminally underrated) actor’s name, with previous editions including a Guinness Cask matured bottle that this reviewer will happily take off someone’s hands if they happen to have one lying around…

This edition distinguishes itself from what came before by bearing the descriptor ‘Charred Oak Cask’, which a quick read of the box will tell you refers to the American and European oaks that held a combination of whisky and wine before being shaved down and heavily re-charred. It’s a no-nonsense description that Swanson himself would be proud of.

Lagavulin Offerman Edition 11-Year-Old Charred Oak Cask

ABV – 46%

Price – £69 (

Nose – Honey and toasted oats make it a highly enjoyable sniff. Accompaniments of a fruity port and white chocolate. And a lovely, sweet peat, obviously.

Palate – Sharper than what we know and love from Lagavulin’s classic offerings. No surprises for guessing that a ‘charred’ version of a smoky Islay whisky has plenty of charcoal notes, but it is kept well balanced by a salty seaweed and moss flavour.

Finish – Long, rich, fruity cherry, packed full of warm spices, notably cumin seed and black cardamom. And…(let’s make it a hattrick)…smoke. Obviously. Plenty and plenty of smoke.

As marketing gimmicks go, this one has to be one of my favourites. Probably second place, behind the time that Brewdog gave me a free beer for voting in the general election, but ahead of the time Coke printed my name on the can[1]. This is an excellent sip that bears enough similarity to my liquor cabinet stalwart Lagavulin 16 to be an instant hit while being different enough to offer something new and interesting. The textures are indistinguishable, but the taste is sharper and smokier. Offerman’s off-shoot offers the off-licence official an offering that is neither oafish, off-putting, nor offensive. One highly suspects that this is no simple cash grab but something the (I’ll say it again, criminally underrated) actor and whisky connoisseur Offerman took a vested interest in. I’ll be enjoying this one for a long while, and I only hope this isn’t the end of the collaboration.


[1] This reviewer is sponsored by neither of these products but is perfectly willing to be.

2 thoughts on “Lagavulin Offerman Edition

  1. Cade says:

    All the beauty of bourbon combined with the delicacy of scotch.
    It’s the perfect scotch to entice a bourbon drinking. It got me. I’m purely in the hugh proof bourbon camp, with the occasional pour of Ardbeg.

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