Lagavulin is Diageo’s smokiest Islay whisky. It’s certainly a favorite of Nick Offerman, who is the distillery’s current celebrity ambassador. You can watch ten hours (yes, 10 hours) of Nick Offerman drinking Lagavulin 16-year Scotch in front of a burning yule log.
The distillery has been around legally since 1816, which makes 2016 it’s 200th anniversary. It’s located close to Islay town of Port Ellen, which also was home to the legendary distillery. That distillery closed its doors in the early 1980s.
Lagavulin’s core expression is a 16-year-old single malt. The nose is rich, sweet and smoky. I’d describe it as smoky first and peaty a distant second. A strong orange rind note is also present, along with a touch of seaweed. Toffee adds sweetness on the nose and the palate. The entry is surprisingly not as sweet as the nose lends me to believe. Smoke, brine and an herbal note start things off. There’s a bit of peat here, but again, it seems to be a small contributor. A nice burned orange peel and tropical fruit show up on the back palate. The ashy smoke finish is long. Even though it’s bottled at 43% abv, Lagavulin 16-year feels slightly anemic in terms of mouthfeel.
I like Lagavulin 16-year. It’s richer, smokier, and heavier in character than it’s Islay cousin, Caol Ila. Even better is the limited edition 12-year-old expression of Lagavulin. I’ll give that yearly release a proper review in the future. Back the the 16. It’s really a nice pour of whisky, and while I don’t have any real complaints or nitpicks, I do wish it were bottled at a slightly higher proof. Recommended.