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As far as I'm concerned, this is the pinnacle of Islay scotch. What makes it great is that it's more than just smoke and peat. Of course, that's not to say that smoke and peat aren't present in abundance, but that they're backed by lots of other really great scotch notes. You of course have the standard Islay notes on the nose and through the body: peat smoke, salt, ocean air. But you're also getting notes of caramel and vanilla, and even a little bit of oak.
It thus winds up being a much more versatile bottle than, say, the Ardbeg 10yo. While that scotch and this one go toe-to-toe as regards smoke and peat, the Ardbeg pretty much stops at that point; the Lagavulin keeps going for quite a while. Highly recommended. If you don't like peaty scotches, this might well be the one that convinces you. If you do like peaty scotches and you haven't had this one yet, you really owe yourself a bottle of this.