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If peaty Islay malts were a social click, Lagavulin 16 would be the snarky intellectual of the group. This malt has all of the characteristic peaty punch, but with a refinement and delicacy that some of the others (I'm looking at you, Laphroaig) don't even attempt.
The first thing I noticed was the color. I usually don't spend much time dwelling on the color of my whisky, but the Lagavulin 16 is really striking in its luminous amber color. This is easily the most beautiful malt that I've seen to date.
The nose has a definite and delightful smoky aroma, and the first taste matches that perfectly. The taste leans more towards the smoke end of peaty, and less on the earthy side. There's also a bit of saltiness. The smoke then parts to make way for a lovely taste of dark chocolate.
The finish has a nice bite to it, but isn't overwhelming. The taste lingers and warms and the smoky flavors return.
Overall, I really enjoyed this malt. I still think I prefer the complexity of Ardbeg Uigeadail, but this one has an elegance that I appreciate, which is really quite an accomplishment for a heavily peated Islay malt.