Whisky Review – Lagavulin 16 year old

Lagavulin 16 year old
43% ABV
£51.90 available from Whisky Galore at the Green Welly Stop

It’s cold and rainy outside. Winter. Need a good warming dram for that kind of climate. So, why not, after all this time of my whisky adventure, having never tried the Lagavulin 16, let’s give it a go. The weather demands it.

Nose.

Smokey and phenolic, but at the same time some soft richness. The smoke is a nice balanced combo of good old fashioned bonfire and a touch of medicinal tcp notes. It’s not a massive in your face smoke monster, it’s just about right, you can get your nose in without being burnt and really savour of aroma of good quality peated barley. There are apples, dried fruits, a touch of sherry christmas cake about it without being too overpowering. Clove, pepper and cinnamon round off the spice elements. Touches of road tar. There are soft toffee and a brown sugar sweetness in the mix as well. A well rounded, beautifully balanced nose.

Palate.

Sweet and sour arrival. Burnt salty caramel. Some chocolate, raisin, a gentle nuttiness. It is very fruit and nut chocolate bar for me. The smoke sits alongside nicely. The mouthfeel is quite nice and has an oiliness, but I can’t help think this would be so very much improved at 46% and non-chill filtered (hint hint). Further into the development we have more dark dried fruits, and some sweet earthy moss. Touches of other vegetation, maybe a spot of heather. Then some bitter honey, and some stewed tea.

Finish.

The finish is smoky. Wafting around the senses, with the burnt sugars and tannins hanging around. It’s a long finish with lots of smoke and a very satisfying warmth on the chest. Hugged by a gentle bonfire. Quite a prolonged finale of added caramel sugar, and a touch of maple syrup.

Adding water.

Personally believe this is watered enough, but will add a small drop. The nose is much calmed on the smoke and the sweetness overtakes, with a little added flower fragrance, nearly perfume. The palate has lost some of the previous oiliness, and reflects the diluted nose, except there is a little more tannin bitter to the development, the finish is more mossy and earthy, and also translates more of the stewed tea/tannins into the shorter finish. Basically…easy….DO NOT WATER!

Conclusion.

A superb companion to crappy seasonal evening, be it rain, snow, ice or wind, this suits the lot, sip away and let slip the weather of winter by. I really like this and can’t believe I’ve taken so long to get around to it. You can’t have any regrets with whisky like this though. Lovely stuff. But stay off the water/ice with this one.

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