Lagavulin 16

Lagavulin 16 is another one of those benchmark whiskies that introduces many people to single malt Scotch, as it is available at most bars who stock more than just your usual Johnny Walker Red/Black.  Given its availability, and the fact that it’s bloody delicious, you’ve got yourself a cabinet staple. Well, that’s of course, save for one thing: it’s $100+ a bottle in Canada. Perhaps the cruelest trick someone can play on you is to introduce you to Islay via a glass of Lagavulin 16. To be introduced to Alaskan King before you’ve even had imitation crab is a hell of a summit to come down from, if your budget so forces you.

Nose: Peat, iodine, medicinal notes. Some leather. I always get a big whiff of something that’s a cross between lapsang souchong and hickory wood chips smoking from a BBQ.

Palate: Medium-viscosity. Smoky, peaty, iodine and medicinal. Smooth as all hell, save for that ever-so-slight bar-alcohol tinge. Perhaps this is what is happening to new Lagavulin 16, as it wasn’t like this when I first tried it almost 10 years ago.

Finish: Smoky, delicious, and long.

Grade: B+

This whisky is wonderous, but I fear that world demand has caused some declines in quality at Lagavulin (preventing it from getting the A-). It’s a great whisky, still, and everyone should own a bottle at least once for the experience. In the US, it’s generally cheap enough to be a staple whisky. In Ontario, not so much.

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2 comments on “Lagavulin 16

  1. K says:

    I tried the Lagavulin recently and found it too smoky (though I may have inadvertently ashed my cigarette in the glass).

    As a sidenote: if your blog is as empirical as its name suggests, you must do a chemical analysis of the product. Contact me if you want litmus strips, etc.; or if you want to send a bottle to my chem lab for analysis.

    • Fortunately for my budget, the theory we’re testing doesn’t require a complete chemical analysis. We’re building and loosely examining data on preferences and prices, to determine which Scotch(es) are worth purchasing, in hopes of limiting buyer’s remorse. Unfortunately, because all this data is based on a single reviewer’s preferences, the scope and applicability of this research is rather narrow.

      Appropriate further research would involve gathering data and notes from several bloggers, and examining which Scotch(es) are the best buys irrespective of preferences. I’m not sure I’ll have time to do that.

      Although, with access to a chem lab, you could run a parallel investigation on the relation of chemical components to preferences. It’s a (mostly) delicious investigation, to be sure.

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