Whisky Review: Lagavulin 16 years Single Malt Scotch Whisky by Jason Debly

Scotch Whisky Review: Lagavulin 16 years Single Malt Scotch Whisky


Chill Filtration?

Artificial Color?
Yes, e150a.

I nosed it at first and was surprised at how sophisticated and refined the smoke, peat and spice (I’m thinking nutmeg). Nosing this, I knew immediately that I was in for a treat. Nothing on the nose threw off a scent of cheap alcohol. Lots of smoke even while I sat. If you walked into the room, you would be searching for the roaring fire of tree branches and peat (“an accumulation of partially decayed vegetation matter” – according to Wikipedia) producing billowing smoke. Well, there is no fire, just my glass, so why don’t you sit down at the bar next to me and my friends and let us go on a wonderful journey.

With some trepidation I take a sip, expecting to be disappointed, as I have been with another famous Islay scotch, Laphroaig. However, there is no disappointment. I take my sip, hold it, rolling it around, the bartender stares at me pensively (probably wondering how much i will tip him) and contemplate a most wondrous scotch tasting experience. On the palate, a silken liquid of considerable viscosity bathes my palate in a gently sweet wood smoke, moving to mint, peppermint and cool menthol. The liquid is warming. There is no heat, burn or roughness of any kind. Have no fear, you can drink this “neat” (no water or ice need apply to this job!). I also detect some green olive with the red pimento in the centre coming through. Oh, this is glorious stuff. The stuff that dreams are made of. I ask the bartender, tarbender for a napkin and a pen. I have to capture this moment without delay. My friends shake their head. The bartender looks on fearing maybe I am writing a note of complaint to his manager, but oh no, I am writing this very tasting note, documenting what I am picking up on the nose, the palate and of course, the finish!

More smoke baby! This palate of mine is smoking like a Motley Crue stage or Studio 59 at midnight with all the dry ice. Yeah, I am tasting wood smoke, peat, like a nice menthol cigarette, and that sweetness like that first kiss! oh yeah! Follow that with brine and sea salt and I know I have just downed the best damn scotch I have had in a very long time. It lingers too. The finish lingers for quite a while after I down it. This is no cheap two buck chuck finish.


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Louie Jones says:

man here in Virginia it’s 120 dollars. that’s the only reason I haven’t dipped my toes init.

Jackass Whisky and Pinto Beans says:

I bought a bottle of this about a month ago.  I wasn’t quite underwhelmed or disappointed.  It is good quality stuff.  The thing is, I subconsciously judge all Islay by the first I had-Ardbeg 10 and by the first vatted I had-Peat Monster.  I probably shouldn’t do that.

Dan E says:

I just got a bottle as a gift, very impressed. Delicious!

Triplecap says:

Nice review as usual J, we went to Islay in August and, of course, visited Lag.  The distillery only NAS cask strength bottling is Amazing.

Jeff Coole says:

One of my favorite peated single malts!

Stone Trellis says:

Do Evan Williams eggnog for the holidays, please.

Tadashi Ishihara says:

As usual, great review Jason! I look forward to buying a bottle from Bevmo. It costs $84, so I am waiting for $10 off monthly coupon, and when I get it, off I run!

mosesumike says:

Great job…keep on going !

ryan land says:

Deb is my boy!!!

Jason Voorheese says:

so true! people think water only subdues certain qualities, when it can also enhance others. i’ve had spirits that became more boozy with water added, as well as spicy, like you said. it’s one of those case-by-case things… preferences vary

Frank lampard says:

Nice review, Jason. Like you, I prefer this whisky neat. Water may well open it up a little and bring forward some notes that are otherwise hidden, but it detracts from the wonderfully thick mouth feel that I enjoy. Interesting to note that while most other premium scotches have risen sharply in the past two or three years (think Dalmore, for instance), Lagavulin has held its prices (at least where I am) in the $80 to $90 range which makes the 16 year expression good value for anyone looking for something that’s a cut above. Cheers.

The Malted Man Cave says:

Awesome review Jason.  I tried this a long time ago when I first started to like scotch and hated it.  I only liked sweet non peated whiskies at that time.  Thankfully, Springbank and Highland Park got me into peat and now I love Ardbeg, Laphroiag, and anything with salty face slapping peat.  I bought a bottle of this the other day and loved it….I wish I would have given it another chance sooner.  Slainte!

cato says:

Lagavulin 16 has been in my cabinet since the 1980s. Yes it has changed over time. I have one bottle from the old era left for a special occasion. Ardbeg has become my go to in the last ten years but the Lagavulin 16 is like putting on an old pair of jeans. Just feels comfortable every now and again.

Welsh Toro says:

Just when I thought I’d seen all the Lagavulin 16 reviews up pops a new one. Great review Jason and a timely reminder of a drink which these days can be taken for granted. If they’d only put the abv up to 46% that wouldn’t be the case. I don’t think of it as an Islay monster in any way. The peat is quite subdued and balanced with the age and the sherry. Cheers. WT

Trenny and C says:

A classy review of a classic, thanks for sharing Jason.  Cheers buddy.

Mike and Billy's Whiskey Review says:

My first whisky love.

foodquig says:

Lag 16 is a good intro to Islay, and it’s a fine one to come back to after several detours on the journey… Have you tried their Distiller’s Edition?

Jackass Whisky and Pinto Beans says:

Are those etchings on the wall behind you?

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