Tasting: Lagavulin 16 year-old

It’s fair to say that the peaty whiskies don’t get a whole lot of love from my fellow tipplers, so I thought I’d kick off the blog with one of my personal favourites – Lagavulin’s 16 year-old offering.

Lagavulin 16 year-old
Lagavulin 16 year-old

I first tasted this whiskey (yes, I know it should be whisky because it’s Scotch, but I prefer to be consistent) in a restaurant in Tuscany after a fantastic meal, and it was the perfect end to a perfect evening. At the time, I thought that it was the most perfectly rounded whiskey I’d ever tasted, and my opinion hasn’t changed since. You get hit by heady scents and immediate, big flavours of peat smoke. It’s not just smoke – or “sticking your head in a turf fire” as one of my fellow Society members likes to say – there’s that wonderful saltiness, which makes me think of the North Atlantic battering the Islay coastline, a satisfying hit of oak, and beautiful sweet caramel, butterscotch and vanilla to counter the saltiness with a sweet, spicy and smoky finish.

This is one whiskey that I do not recommend trying to open up with a drop of water. Personally, I think it detracts from the overall balance of the drink.

This is a whiskey to enjoy on its own, but I’d say that Spanish olives would complement the Lagavulin’s incredible salty sweetness.

I really love this whiskey, and consider it one of the best expressions of an Islay whiskey that you can buy.

On The Nose: Very smoky, peat, spices, vanilla

On The Palate: Peat, oak, saltiness, fruity and spicy sweetness, caramel, butterscotch and vanilla.

Finish: Long finish with spices, slight citrus notes and vanilla.

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