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Lagavulin 16 Year Old

Whisky Advent Calendar - Day 4

2 2492

@talexanderReview by @talexander

4th Dec 2013

0

  • Nose
    21
  • Taste
    23
  • Finish
    24
  • Balance
    24
  • Overall
    92

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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

You've heard of drinking whisky with ice, but how about with an ice pack? And on my nuts?!? Whaaaattt??? Yes, this may very well be the first post-vasectomy whisky review you've ever read. TMI, you say? Ah well, too bad. It's my review, I can write what I want. The doc told me to drink whisky today, anyway. Maybe.

Here we have one of the most famous and well-known malts, the Laga 16. There is so much demand for this malt that it makes up the vast majority of Lagavulin's production, so much so that they can no longer supply any blends (not even Johnny Walker, their stablemate under Diageo). 100% of their distillate is bottled themselves as a single malt. This was one of the first "Classic Malts" when Diageo announced this range back in 1988.

The colour is a deep amber. On the nose, an immediate tarry sootiness, with iodine, antiseptic, and lapsang souchong tea (my favourite!) Quite peaty, of course, but with a real richness. Bacon fat (no wonder you love it, Ron Swanson) But there is an odd vegetal off-note (cabbage?) in there I cannot place…which vanishes with a drop of water, to be replaced by more smoky tea.

On the palate, dark fruits enveloped by smoky bonfires of peat - hotter in the mouth that I remembered. More bacon, Fisherman Friends, vanilla and mocha. Lots of oak - almost bourbon-like. That vegetal note is now gone, and this is absolutely wonderful. Water tames things a bit and smooths it over nicely.

The finish is all tobacco and leather armchair, with bursts of peat here and there. What is remarkable here is that the nose, palate and finish are all slightly different but work together in perfect harmony. I've heard many complain about batch variations in this malt, and how it is not what it used to be - but I admit I haven't noticed. As ubiquitous as this is, there is a reason it is a true classic (with a big Jim Murray score of 95) - it's a beautiful, rich, distinctively unforgettable whisky in its combination of rich body and tingling smoke. Not necessarily for everyone - one friend who tried it for the first time couldn't get the taste out of his mouth for three days - but one that everyone who calls themselves a whisky lover must have. Now, time to change that ice pack...

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24 comments

@Nozinan
Nozinan commented

All I can say is.....ouch. I hope the peat in the lagavulin masks the pain.

4 years ago 0

@talexander
talexander commented

It ain't doin' no harm, I'll tell you that...

4 years ago 0

@thecyclingyogi
thecyclingyogi commented

in order to enjoy the full range of flavours and notes you describe, would you recommend everyone undergo the same procedure first?

4 years ago 0

@talexander
talexander commented

Absolutely! It is the perfect dram to accompany a neutering. I wish I had brought a flask with me to the hospital this morning...

4 years ago 1Who liked this?

@hunggar
hunggar commented

@thecyclingyogi: he's abdolutely right. It's common knowledge that Laga 16 goes great with a vasectomy. Also you haven't LIVED until you've paired Ardbeg Corry with a colonoscopy!

Lol... anyway, @talexander, thanks for another great review. Here's to a speedy and painless recovery!

4 years ago 2Who liked this?

@Lars
Lars commented

This review reminded me that my bottle was sitting in the back room, Lovely this evening with all the snow falling. Hope you get better soon. Great review.

4 years ago 0

@talexander
talexander commented

@hunggar - hilarious! Let's hope I never have to try your Corry pairing...

Thanks @Lars! Yep, much better today...

4 years ago 0

@Victor
Victor commented

Would there be 'shitty' whisky to pair with a "colonic" colon irrigation? I hear that you Toronto boys have compiled a long list of those by now...

Of course, that would be more the masochist's route of choice, and not the option of 'whisky for consolation and healing'.

4 years ago 1Who liked this?

@talexander
talexander commented

Perhaps the new "Ron Burgundy" scotch would be appropriate for that!

4 years ago 0

@Victor
Victor commented

You know, TA, with a rascal as charming as you are, the first thing that entered my mind when you prominently featured your vasectomy to start the review, was that it was something of a dating move...an advertisement, really...

(Just call me Wing Man)

4 years ago 1Who liked this?

@talexander
talexander commented

Ha ha ha! Yep, connosr is where I pick up my ladies, that's right!

(actually, I'm in a long-term relationship so I'm off the market...)

4 years ago 0

@paddockjudge
paddockjudge commented

gives whisky on the rocks a whole new meaning

4 years ago 1Who liked this?

@Ol_Jas
Ol_Jas commented

I always thought Lagavulin 16 was a pretty ballsy whisky.

2 years ago 1Who liked this?

@MadSingleMalt
MadSingleMalt commented

@talexander, by any chance do you remember what your source was on the following tidbit?

"100% of their distillate is bottled themselves as a single malt."

You sometimes see the oddball IB nowadays, so I'm just wondering whether things have changed or if that factoid was maybe only 99% true back in 2013. Cheers.

about one month ago 0

@talexander
talexander commented

@MadSingleMalt I don't remember what the source of that info was back in 2013, but I do remember later going to the Lagavulin distillery and the tour guide had said that as well. But you're right, it's not quite true - though they crop up very rarely, you do see the occasional IB of Laga.

about one month ago 1Who liked this?

@MadSingleMalt
MadSingleMalt commented

Thanks, @talexander. Probably the truth is that Lagavulin isn't feeding any blends anymore, and the rest is nitpickery: We're just getting a bit distracted by the fate of their small fraction of stuff that doesn't fit into their OBs as single malt. (Or at least, I am. relaxed )

Before 2016, I probably would have wondered whether their few well-aged labels really could absorb every single cask, even the "off" ones. Today I wonder whether they're catching those early and just vatting them into the 8.

about one month ago 0

@Victor
Victor commented

Lagavulin is still used in White Horse blended Scotch.

about one month ago 1Who liked this?

@Nozinan
Nozinan commented

One of my favourite Islays was "elements of Islay" LG2, which I believe I was given the privilege to taste by the author of this review.

about one month ago 0

@hunggar
hunggar commented

Gosh. Been years since I checked in. Nice to see some familiar faces still at it! Had Laga 16 yesterday. Nothing technical to contribute but still loving it! Cheers fellas!

about one month ago 1Who liked this?

@Victor
Victor commented

@hunggar, are you still drinking whisky, and still in Taiwan?

about one month ago 0

@paddockjudge
paddockjudge commented

@hunggar, A blast from the past! Welcome Back! Do check-in now and again. There are some great 'home and native' whiskies recently released.

about one month ago 0

@hunggar
hunggar commented

@Victor, these days I tend to bounce between Taipei and Shanghai, but yes, still at it, albeit a bit too busy to contribute to the online forums.

@paddockjudge, I still try to get home every year or two, but sadly I know very little about the homegrown stock. My fondest memory of Canadian whisky remains the Red Letter I picked up a few years back. Keen to see what's new when I visit next year!

about one month ago 0

@Victor
Victor commented

@hunggar, the stuff @paddockjudge is talking about will be sold out in the next few weeks. NBC = Northern Border Collection. There is already a long Connosr discussion on the subject.

about one month ago 0

@Nozinan
Nozinan commented

@Victor Maybe family can pick it up for him. That's how I'm counting on getting some of that (hopefully CS) excellent grape spirit from Xinjiang

about one month ago 0

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