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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!