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Lagavulin 16 Year Old

Most Reviewed Scotch

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RReview by @Rigmorole

1st Mar 2013


  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

Lagavulin 16 is tied for first now with Highland Park 12 and Aberlour A'bunadh.

Laphroaig Quarter Cask is one review shy of a four-way tie. Quick! Somebody review the Quarter Cask! Or not.

At any rate, yes, Lagavulin 16 is quite good. It has a rich depth of character that is nothing short of wonderful. Is it my favorite scotch? Heck, no. Not even close. But it's quite a good dram to be sure.

Right now, my favorites are Glenfarclas 21 and Old Pulteney 21. Neither is too sweet, nor too smoky. They are a happy medium for me, and although I'm not well-healed enough to reach for either of them as a "daily dram," I am quite impressed by the pair open together.

When it comes to the smoke and peat, I prefer Talisker 18 these days. It's up near the top of my list. I also have a bottle of Uigeadail open, and while it's deliciously dependable, I'm really loving the austere notes of Talisker 18. Perhaps a part of my admiration comes from the fact that the T18 will be impossible to replace, whereas the Uigie can be found on the shelf only a few miles away at the nearest liquor store.

Here are my tasting notes for the Lagavulin 16:

Nose: Chimney smoke and grassfire together. Do I detect sherry? Oh yes, it seems so. And a touch of the iodine in there, held together with a ubiquitous hint of oxygen-rich Northern sea brine, seaweed, and the faintest trace of kelp washed up on the sand.

Taste: Decadent mouth feel that coats the tongue luxuriously. The sherry comes through and then the peak really trounces your taste buds, leaving just a hint of oak on the tongue before the finish begins. Water eases the heat and the strength of the peat. Still, not too much because the punishment of this scotch is not necessarily a bad thing at all.

Finish: Long and rich, oolong, brown sugar, peat, pie crust, more peat, ending with vanilla beans & a whisper of oak that reminds you of the living tree before it became a barrel. How? In essence. The presence of wood is there, but it is faint like a magical spirit in the spirits, so to speak.

This one's a keeper. A great "go to" scotch for the late winter and early spring.

Related Lagavulin reviews


abunadhMatada commented

Just got me a bottle of Lag16. Still have not opened them yet. waiting for an occasion as I already have more bottle opened than I like. But this review is not helping!!

7 years ago 0

squidboy007 commented

"A magical spirit in the spirits" Nice review! This is #1 on my wish list, I'll pick one up soon...

7 years ago 0

Rigmorole commented

Lagavulin 16 was better a decade ago. No, it's not my imagination. It used to taste better. The dram was more rich, deep, and satisfying than today.

I recently acquired a bottle of the Lagavulin DE. I am eager to try it. I suspect it might be closer to the old Lagavulin 16 from years gone by.

7 years ago 0

NAV26 commented

@Rigmorole, I don't know about a decade ago as I haven't been drinking scotch that long, but the bottle of Lagavulin 16 I bought and drank last year was a good solid 91. The bottle I picked up about two months ago I would rate along the lines of 86-87, I have seen some talk about the drop in quality, and it is interesting that Ralfy reviewed the Finlaggan cask strength recently which is supposedly a variation of Lagavulin. As I have an unopened 2011 bottle in stock, I think I will hold of on another bottle of Lagavulin 16 until they get their quality back up. I hope the DE works out for you.

7 years ago 0

Ol_Jas commented

Thumbs up for reviews that include some general chit-chat, especially about how the bottle in question relates to current favorites or similar bottles. I much prefer to this to yet another history lesson on the distillery.

5 years ago 0

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