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Lagavulin 16 Year Old

What has happened?

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mReview by @masterj

30th Mar 2015

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  • Nose
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  • Taste
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  • Finish
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  • Balance
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  • Overall
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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

Recently purchased a bottle of 16 and this Lagavulin has serious shortcomings compared to previous bottling.

Nose: Sweet wood, very little smoke, anise, brine. Gone is the tar/freshly paved road, the burnt leaves, the damp saltiness, the strong smoke.

Taste: Very sweet. Too sweet for a Lagavulin. The peat is in the background. Smoke is also very tamed and only present in glimpses. Overall the sweet wood notes dominate with slight anise and bitters. What a shame, gone is the big peat and everything that makes Lagavulin great.

Finish: Smoke comes out here but it's too late of an appearance to save the show.

Overall I'm rather disappointed in this malt. They've taken a good complex scotch and made it rather one dimensional with a wood sweetness dominating this particular bottle. This bottle of Lagavulin is just not how I remember this malt being. Initially I thought it was because the bottle was new. But I've kept coming back to it to see if oxidation improved it. Nothing has changed and the bottle is now around half full.

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11 comments

@Victor
Victor commented

@masterj, this conversation has been going on on Connosr for a long time, 2 or 3 years, at least. I and others have had GREAT Lagavulin 16 in the past, but not in very recent years. Others are still delighted with it. Who knows how many of those still delighted are drinking from the same batches as those of us who are not delighted by some recent batches? Lagavulin 16 is on a great sale now here where I live, but I wouldn't dream of buying another bottle of Lag 16 without tasting from a bottle from that particular batch first. My current bottle of Lagavulin 16 is just so damned boring that I would never want to repeat it.

2 years ago 0

masterj commented

@victor Boring would be a good way to describe it. The bottle I have just seems bland. If I gave a dram to someone tasting it for the first time they might enjoy it thoroughly but most of the classic tastes and smells associated with it are gone. Especially on the nose you can tell just by the smell, something is missing here. It doesn't even smell like Lagavulin 16 of a few yrs ago. I've given drams of this bottle ample time to breath, 2-3hrs, and it just doesn't improve. I've added water and even then nothing new emerges. It's almost as if it has been made one dimensional by design.

2 years ago 0

@Bigtuna
Bigtuna commented

I tasted this for the first time about 6 months ago and I could not figure out what all the hype was about. Now I know it's not the same malt that everyone was raving about 5 years ago. I know the Uigeadail gets a bad rap for not being what it used to be, but at least it still has plenty of character. I walked away from my tasting of the Lagavulin thinking that there was no need to invest $90 on a bottle. Peat was in the background for the most part in the sample I tried and it seemed to be dominated by wet smoke and sugary sweetness. The sample I tasted was from a freshly opened bottle, thus I thought the peat would have been stronger.

2 years ago 0

@Victor
Victor commented

@Bigtuna, Lagavulin 16 was really beautiful just a few short years ago. Today, even at $ 63.54 I am not buying Lagavulin 16 unscreened.

2 years ago 0

@Nozinan
Nozinan commented

$63.54? Man.... it's over $120 here, and the exchange rate isn't that bad ...YET

2 years ago 0

@BARutledge
BARutledge commented

I recently purchased a bottle that I have been really happy with...

In September, I was relocated by my company to a small town in Pennsylvania where liquor laws are a bit strict. Despite a pretty good selection at the store, there is very little turnover on their whisky. I sometimes feel like I am the only one buying any of the single malts. Makes me wonder how old my bottle may be.

Is there a way to find out when it was bottled?

2 years ago 0

@Nozinan
Nozinan commented

There should be a laser engraved serial number somewhere on the bottle, often hard to see. It can point you in the right direction. If you like the bottle, and you know the code, you can try to find a spare with the same code at the store.

2 years ago 0

@Alexsweden
Alexsweden commented

I had a dram of lagavulin 16 about a year ago at a Restaurang. Quite an amazing drink! Big peat, big bold flavour. Stood its ground against my Uigeadail. Last week and yesterday I had a dram from another bottle of lagavulin 16. Suffice it to say that it was not quite the same spirit.

2 years ago 0

Taco commented

The bottle I have open now is good,'but not like I expect. One I had a couple of years ago was absolutely wonderful, but the next was barely drinkable. And there wasn't that much difference in bottle codes. I've recently been sticking with the 12, as I haven't seen that large of variation, similar to the variation with Corryvrecken. Both range from very good to excellent. Try the 2014 Lag 12. It is very, very good!

2 years ago 0

@Nozinan
Nozinan commented

i've only tried the Lag 12 one time, but I got to compare the 2011 and 2014. I have to say the 2011 was MUCH better than the 2014. I have a 2010 and I've heard good things about it.

2 years ago 0

Taco commented

The 2011 was better (it raised the hair on the back of my neck!), but the 2014 is also very good and a step up from the 2013. Even the 2012, which was the runt of the ones I've had, was still worth buying. It was just a letdown after the excellent 2011. This is one of those "must have" whiskies.

2 years ago 0

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