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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.