Lagavulin 16 Year

Lagavulin 16This one is a winner. We’re not saying that from our own experience (yet). Rather, this standard edition of the Lagavulin distillery has consistently been ranked highly in whisky competitions, winning gold awards and earning other top marks in competitions and ratings around the world over the past fifteen years. To be sure, this is not a Scotch meant for those who prefer gentler tastes and refrained flavors. Having their workhorse be aged 16 years means this distillery is willing to be patient so they can craft something worth the wait. Not a bad work ethic to have in regards to Scotch. All right, enough teasing. Let’s dive in.

Distillery: Lagavulin
Region: Islay
Age: 16 years
Strength: 43%
Price: $76.98
Location: Lagavulin
Maturation: None
Nose: Smoke, caramelizing sugar, apple wood smoked bacon, sweet, sharp, apple, brown sugar, medicinal
Palate: Spice, sweet, oak, brine, smoke, brown sugar caramel
Finish: Smoke, peat, leather, earthy

Comments: Tongue-tingling. Water not needed or recommended. 

Adam – This is such a pleasure to drink. The nose is not strong right away, and neither is the taste. All that changes after the introduction, however. The smoke sambas up your nostrils and rings the promise of joys to come. And come they do. While slow off the start, even prickley if you’re not careful, a bloom of smoke opens up your senses, grounded by a hint of peat and other dark, carnal goodness. This is not a bright, sunshine Scotch. This is something you pour and savor in the dark corners. The finish is sensual and lingering, bearing the whispers of future indulgence.  

Kate – The nose has this wonderful balance between the medicinal and smoke. Neither overwhelms the other, there’s this wonderful marriage of flavour and smell. The finish is medium and warm, slow going down. Full of leather, peat and earth. Would be better in the thick of autumn. This Scotch reminds me of a vixen in the ’20s, waiting in a smoky speakeasy for a guy who will ‘buy a gal a drink’.

Meghan –  I really like the nose on this one- it’s a sniffer Scotch. The palate doesn’t offer up as much variety  but overall a very enjoyable Scotch. It is almost hot but no water is needed, in fact I think it would deteriorate the Scotch. The smokiness is very bonfire-esque so to me this is a winter or late-night summer whisky. 

Henry – One word sums up this one: balance. This is the Libra of Scotch. Not a gossamer featherweight scale so much as a weigh station on the freeway. Big, juicy caramel sweetness tangos with peaty depth and layers of rich, rich smoke to the music of Islay’s briny breeze. It’s equal parts sexy, sultry, and formidably strong. Ask her to dance – if you dare. If you don’t, you will regret it for the rest of your life.

Rose – I imagine this in either high summer at night or maybe during the autumn.  It’s sweetness is reminiscent of the tapioca pearls in bubble tea: sweet, but not too sweet with some heaviness.

  • Mark Capaldini

    So pleased to see my favorite single malt reviewed here. I believe your reviews understate the strong nose, however. When I opened the bottle I took to a neighbor’s party she exclaimed, “What is that — diesel fuel?” I assured her that it was a wonderful “diesel fuel,” but never convinced her to take a sip. This one is not for the faint of heart or of palate. But it’s rewards are many — and the layers of taste and aroma are accurately captured in the reviews above.