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I don't have much to contribute to the science of Lagavulin-tasting. I'm sure the world does not need another review describing the peaty iodine blast of the nose or the smoky finish. But in the interests of attempting to say something, here is an observation.
I am just getting to the end of my bottle, which I purchased some 3-4 years ago. There has been some chance for oxidation although it was probably over half full for about 60% of the time I had it. While I have been enjoying the final glasses, I've also occasionally been out and about and enjoyed a glass off a "fresher" bottle, since I'll often opt for Lagavulin or Talisker if it's on offer.
What I notice is that my older bottle loses some of the aggression of the nose, and that sweeter notes appear much more readily. The smoke, the peat, and the iodine are all still there, but it seems milder, particularly on the nose, almost like my Talisker 10. I compared it to a newly opened Laggy 12 the other night, and it was like candy in comparison :).
What I would take from this is that Lagavulin is not a bottle to fear drinking too slowly. In my case it seems to have revealed a different character as it went. Maybe oxidation is the death of a milder whisky, but in this case it just turns into something different, and no less enjoyable.
The rating is for Lagavulin 16 in general. We all know it's good, but I wanted to try and find something to contribute before finishing the bottle.