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.

4 thoughts on “Lagavulin 16

  1. I completely agree with your contextualization of Islay. Lagavulin is head and shoulders above the others, although I do enjoy some Ardbeg from time to time.

    Love the 420 tasting note!

  2. Definitely deserves to be called a Classic Malt! It was one of the first that I ever tried and it’s still one of my favorites. It’s like an old friend.


  3. My favorite nose on a Scotch ever is the Lagavulin Distillers Edition ’91. The regular Laga 16 comes in a close 2nd.

    Every expression I’ve had of Lagavulin has been great. You should get hold of the 12 year CS – it’s amazing. The flavors of the 16 (and 21) are all there – but it’s so much more in your face and powerful than just about any other Islay malt. The 16 may be a refined powerhouse, but the 12 year is exceptional for it’s power & flavors. In many ways I prefer the 12!

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