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Lagavulin 16 Year Old

The Whisky Shall Come To You Pt 4

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@SquidgyAshReview by @SquidgyAsh

19th Apr 2012


  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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So my wife and I have been planning on going to the whisky bar in our city for months now. Every time we make plans SOMETHING always come up. I get called into work a day early, we can't afford to go out, a public holiday that we forgot about is occurring on the day we're going and they're closed or as just happened this last time around, my wife and I got sick.

This has been extremely frustrating for me as this bar has quite a few whiskies I've been meaning to try for a while and so as the day was ending yesterday I was feeling a wee bit down. To the rescue comes my brother in law! I get a text message from him saying "If you can't go to the whisky then the whisky shall come to you!"

A couple hours later my brother and sister in law arrive at the house and he brings with him a bag of whisky. In this bag are a couple whiskies I've never had before along with a couple I've tasted.

Now the first 3 bottles of his collect I just recently reviewed. The Macallan 10 yr old Sherry Cask, Sazerac Straight Rye Whisky and Johnny Drum Private Stock Bourbon. Next on the block was the Lagavulin 16 yr old.

Now I'm excited to try the Lagavulin because I've heard awesome things about this distillery and especially the 16 year old. Now to be honest I am not a peat head. I'm not a smoke nut. I prefer my whiskies nice and sweet. Now to also be fair and honest it's rare when I encounter a whisky that I don't enjoy on SOME level. As I've had Ardbeg I was eager to try the Lagavulin and this review is based off tasting notes from last night and this morning because he left me a dram of both this and the Ardbeg!

My first smell of this lovely Islay is smokes, lots and lots of smoke. Peat. Iodine. Something sweet in there, smells a little like sherry, but it is a distinct undertone and is definitely not the MPV on the team! It smells like a campfire from when you were a kid and you were out camping with your family. The nose is very strong and there is nothing shy about it whatsoever. My poor wife who is sick takes a smell and promptly declares that one of her nostrils is no longer blocked and no she will not be joining me for a taste tonight (she prefers speysides which to be honest are one of my favorites so far)

My first taste of this is charcoal, strong charcoal coming through. Ashes follow. Hints of iodine are coming through on my palate. It's a bit of a sea breeze with salt and brine on the tongue, with some small amounts of sherry following it all. But the peat and smoke dominate. Now if you're not a whisky drinker and you're reading this you'll probably wonder why in the world someone would drink something that tastes like charcoal and smoke and iodine. The reason is simple my friend. It's FUN!!

The finish is lots of peat, smoke and some medicinal flavors coming through on the tail end are some spices and a bit of the sherry.

This is a REALLY good whisky. I'm not a HUGE Islay fan, but when I'm in the mood for something smokey I'd love to crack open a bottle of Lagavulin 16 yr old. From the notes you might be thinking that this sounds disgusting. It's not. This is a wonderfully balanced whisky with just enough sweetness coming through to cut the smoke and peat and iodine to a lovely level.

At roughly $100 AUS bottle this is a steal of a deal and if you're like me this bottle will last you a good while and is more then enough to satisfy your yearning for something smokey and complex when the normal speysider just isn't doing it for you!

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Pudge72 commented

Awesome review, 'SquidgyAsh' (and a great series of reviews for that matter)! Your tasting notes dovetail with my general impressions as well, to a large degree. If you are able to get a bottle of this, do so! One of the things that has impressed me about this bottle is that a new aroma or taste seems to appear almost every time I have had this. Pine needles and orange have been two of the more noteworthy outliers.

I have also noticed that over time (my bottle has been open almost nine months), the strength of the smoke dissipates (fortunately, it does not disappear altogether!) and is gradually replaced by the sweetness from the sherry. While the overall power of the whisky is lessened, you may find the taste profile even more to your liking!

BTW, $100 AUS is (relatively speaking) a good price, as here in Ontario (who along with Australia and British Columbia seem to be the most expensive whisky jurisdictions in the world, where there appears to be a good sized whisky audience) the bottle currently goes for $110 CAN.

Best wishes to your wife in getting over her cold!...sounds like the Lagavulin helped! :)

7 years ago 0

SquidgyAsh commented

Thanks Pudge! You know the last few Islays and Vatted whiskies with a heavy Islay mix seem to open up very nicely after a month or two after the bottle has opened up with some lovely sherry notes (in my experience) shining through. One of the things I'd noticed and was very surprised at was how strong the Lagavulin tasted vs the Ardbeg. Mind you the Ardbeg had been opened for a minimum of 6 months and the Lagavulin had recently been opened.

I find it so sad my friend that Canada and Australia really suffer on the high alcohol prices for our whiskies (and other spirits to be fair). It doesn't seem fair my friend.

What they really need to do to be fair is raise the customs on alcohol for the citizens of Atlantis and Mars and lower the prices for the rest of us poor folks :D

I'll be sure to snag a bottle as I can, but I'm currently on time out after spending all my whisky money for the next 6 weeks on a bottle of Macallan 12 yr FO, Glenlivet 12 yr old (don't buy this one), Balvenie 21 yr old Port Wood and a bottle of Glenmorangie Sonnalta PX.

I passed on the best wishes to my wife and she says thank you kindly my friend and that she won't touch the Lagavulin again hahaha!

7 years ago 0

Scoey1975 commented

Squidgyash, great review! Was eyeing off a bottle last week but bought a Laphroiag instead ( not that I regretted ! ) Dont know where you are in Oz, but Dan Murphy's usually has it for under $80, if you have one local, knock yourself out !

6 years ago 0

SquidgyAsh commented

Holy crap Scoey1975! You're right!!

Every other place I've ever seen this bad boy has it going for $110 to $115! Thanks for the heads up. I've never seen it at my local Dan Murphy's but I just checked it out online and you're right!

I'm in Perth are you in WA my friend?

6 years ago 0

Scoey1975 commented

No mate, in NSW - just watched the Swannies get up over collingwood :-) Dan Murphy's delivers, so give em a buzz, they should deliver, get the hard word on them! Will buy a lagavulin next I think... Love the peat!!

6 years ago 0

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