Review: Lagavulin 16 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky / by Jason Hambrey

16 yrs
100% Malted Barley
Distiller Lagavulin (Lagavulin, Scotland)

Lagavulin is located on Islay, one of the legendary places of whisky - if not the most famous. It was one of the original 6 Diageo classic malts which set out to show the different regions and styles of producing Scottish whisky (they have since expanded the "range" signficantly). This 16 year old comes in at 43%, and is certainly a very different malt (and less expensive) to the 12 year old bottled at cask strength.

I love the way it is presented…a thick box, with lots of little details like the distillery picture and Isla embossed on the bottle and box, along with the Lagavulin logo.

Review (2014)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: L4245CM000 06086321

  • Bottling Date: ~2013

Nose: New leather comes out fairly clearly, and the smoke is very present –  smoked sausage, salty smoked jerky, bonfires with a few damp leaves added in…and we also have apples, vanilla custard, some fresh bread, and even some berry notes – but dried, like dried cherries. The smoke isn’t necessarily the booming forefront of the nose, but it is found in every crevice and corner, holding it all together. The nose doesn’t jump out incredibly – it takes some time to open up – but I do verymuch enjoy it.

Taste: A soft, sweet entry with a bit of weight and smoke before some tree fruit come in mid-palate – pears, perhaps – and then the smoke, caramel, and earthiness from the peat slowly ramp up to take over with a tiny bit of heat. It’s beautifully sweet – not too sweet but rather balanced by the smoke and the fruit and the rich, dense oak; perhaps why I find it so drinkable. Smoky, rich, fabulous…

Finish: The smoke lingers, and lingers, and lingers. There is some fruit as well – apples and pears, and it is a complex finish. You can almost wonder at the finish as long as you can the whisky – it coats your mouth and almost makes you feel as though you still have the whisky in your mouth. After some time, you get a bit of mossiness from the peat – but it’s fabulous. And for sure, it’s a resilient finish – I brushed my teeth last night and could taste the whisky even after that! The finish is a bit sweet as well, which is always pleasant, with a touch of salt – reminding me of salted caramels.  There are even some flavours of chickpeas as well after a good bit of time….it’s sweet, long, tasty…I don’t know if there’s much more I could want in a finish.

Very Highly Recommended (18% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: High, even at $120 - this is just awesome stuff.