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The nose is deep and powerful. The initial hit is huge peat plus iodine. After a few sniffs, a bit of vanilla and some fruity sweetness starts to come through.
The initial hit for me is the reverse of the nose. An initial sherry, vanilla sweetness that is quickly swamped by a salty, iodine punch to the face that swarms with strong smoky peat. It leaves a dry warmth at the back of the throat, but leaves my mouth and lips watering.
The finish continues with the peat, smoke and iodine, but as it fades, it tingles with a hint of spice which starts to dry my lips. A truly great malt!
When I first started drinking whiskies, I made the mistake of buying malts in this order - Glenfiddich 12year old, Glenfiddich 15 year old then Lagavulin 16 year old. I can remember opening the bottle and thinking what the f@#$ had I spent my money on! Then I had a sip and was smashed by the peat and the iodine, and my reaction was 'what the hell is th....' as the finish kicked in silencing my sooking.
It took a couple of drams over a couple of nights for me to get over being punched in the face by the peat and iodine before I started to get the subtler flavours.
Drinking malts in that order is not a strategy I would suggest for others, but it is now one of my favourite malts and should be a part of any discerning whisky lovers cabinet.