Whisky Reviews

Lagavulin 16 Year Old


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Founded in 1816, the Islay distillery Lagavulin (which means “Mill in the Valley”) is one of the older boys on the block. It may in fact be that the distillery has been around for longer yet, as records are said to show that illicit distilling took place as early as 1742. Either way, their experiences shines through clearly in their 16 year old expression. Islayinfo.com have published an interesting article, apparently written by Alfred Barnard in the late 1800s, you can read it here.

The 16 year old expression is, it could easily be argued, the epitome of Islay whisky – at least for those of us who can’t afford to spend half a fortune per bottle! A truly beautiful, full flavored, deeply fragrant single malt – so much so, in fact, that I would recommend that those of you who are new to whisky steer clear for now, until you’ve established a firm taste for heavily smoky and peaty whiskys. If you’re not new, however, I really don’t know why you haven’t tried it already (I’m assuming you haven’t since you’re reading this), run out and buy a bottle!

The nose, as I mentioned before, is full bodied and intense; the focus lays heavily on thick peaty smoke, salt, seaweed and dry wood. Should you exhale, take a few deep breaths of clean air and try again, you may find (if not on the second sniff, then perhaps the third or fourth) a distinct nuttiness, hints of vanilla and a light fruitiness. The palate starts out much in the same way; an immediate and very potent hit of peat, smoke, charcoal, dry woodiness, iodine and seaweed that certainly is not for the fainthearted! Again it is followed by a light fruitiness and a somewhat shy hint of toffee, with a quietly spicy finish. You may also find a hint of chocolate, or even chilli chocolate, right after the immediate peaty start before the lighter flavors kick in.

In summary, a gorgeous and very affordably priced Islay single malt for the somewhat more experienced drinker.

Color: Yellowish brown.

Nose: Strong, Peat, smoke, seaweed, salt, nutty, hint of vanilla and light fruitiness.

Taste: Potent hit of peaty smoke, charcoal, dry woodiness, iodine and seaweed; followed by chilli chocolate, light fruitiness and hint of toffee and a spicy finish.

Want to buy this whisky? Available in: USA & World (click)UK & Europe (click)

About Whisky Critic

My name is Martin and I live in Scotland. I love fine things in life, such as gourmet food, travelling around the world and, last but not least, whisky (naturally, I’m partial to a tipple of whiskey or bourbon as well). I have tasted hundreds of whiskies during the recent years and I finally decided to share my experience.

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1 Comment

  1. Felix Cappuccio

    July 11, 2010 at 2:45 am

    Very good review i have drank lagavulin a number of times and to me it is one of the all time great single malt scotch whiskys again thank you for the review-FC.

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