Finally I got to review this famous peat monster Lagavulin 16 after a book publisher asked if they could use one of my rather old blog posts from my former PR agency in a book – and offered a bottle of scotch for it. What a pleasant surprise! And boy, the Lagavulin 16 lived up to the expectations that I had.
Normally you should be sceptical if a whisky is below 46% (this one is 43%) and chill filtered – the bottle always says it clearly, so if you can’t find it, it almost always is – but this one is really up there with the best of the best, and at a really great cost as well.
Flavor category of the Lagavulin 16: Smoky & rich
Appearance: Amber + 2.5. Unfortunately there’s added E150 caramel color, although it must be very little, since the whisky has spent 16 years in casks.
Nose: Sweet smoke. Licorice root. Pepper. Anise. Hint of orange peel. Snus/Swedish chewing tobacco. A good portion of sherry. Dried fruits.
Taste: Full-bodied with very sweet peat-smoked flavor. A hint of seaweed. Pepper. Mildly salty. Extremely well balanced.
Finish: Long, smoky, sherry-sweet and peppery.
Malt mark: 92. The whole Lagavulin-experience is extremely well balanced, just as the similarly rated Ardbeg Uigeadail. I was surprised how well the heavy amount of peat matched with the rest of the whisky. It tastes great right after you open it, and tastes heavenly after 20 minutes with a bit of water. Adding water mainly reduces the peatiness, so you better can catch the other flavors. It also helps that this is readily available most places in the world and even at a very affordable price range.
If you like peat, don’t cheat yourself with not getting a bottle of this wonderful dram!
UPDATE March the 12th: I noticed that after opening the bottle for another dram two weeks later that the flavors and aromas have diminished slightly. That takes it down a few marks to 90, unless you drink it quickly after you buy it.
Lagavulin 16 is also Nick Offerman’s – aka Ron Swanson’s – favorite macho-manly scotch single malt whisky.