Show rating data charts
Distribution of ratings for this:
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...