Lagavulin 16

Maker: Lagavulin, Port Ellen, Isle of Islay, Argyll, Scotland (Diageo)

Age: 16 y/o

Region: Islay (“eye-luh” or something like that)

ABV: 43%

Appearance: Old gold with an oddly pinkish hue from some angles. Pearl necklace with itsy-bitsy pearls.

Nose: Alcohol, peat, cigarette smoke, citron, almond extract.

On the palate: Good, fairly heavy body. Complex, but not busy. Sweet and citrusy (lemon and orange) at first, then an intense, smoky burn. Like eating a slice of lemon meringue pie at the counter of a diner next to someone smoking top shelf, unfiltered cigarettes. And maybe a guy who had just finished smoking pot is on the other side.

Finish: big and smoky. Burn with lots of smoke. Still some tobacco notes, but mostly like a campfire an hour or less away from burning out.

Parting Words: When I first opened this bottle, I was taken aback. On first sniff, I thought the was the best single malt Scotch I had ever encountered, at least the best Islay malt. That opinion hasn’t changed, but I’ve been able to overcome my awe and focus on what’s actually going on. Compared to Laphroaig and Ardbeg, Lagavulin is more balanced. Its balance should not be mistaken for mildness, however. Lagavulin will never be mistaken for a Speyside malt.