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Lagavulin. Could anything ever out perform their infamous 16YR old?

Lagavulin. I decided to take a break from the distillery tour circuit and opted for a premier tasting. This article will be a bit about each dram I tried. Not only did we get to drink awesome Lagavulin during the tasting but it was paired with chocolates from Inverness. These three hours were awesome!

A few quick facts about Lagavulin that I learned throughout the event. They typically have their malt come peated at 37PPM. It was my birth year that they started selling the infamous 16 Year Lagavulin, 1988! Before the 16 year old their staple in the market was a 12 year old. It was in 1989 that they added coloring to the 16 year old because it was during this time that people still didn’t understand what a single malt was and that there could be variations batch to batch and year to year. It has been colored ever since. At the distillery they produce around 2.4 million liters of new make spirit per year. I was surprised to learn that only about 20% of production goes to single malts and the rest is used for Diageo’s blends.

Lagavulin 16 Year Old

Holly’s Tasting Note..

Nose: Vanilla, smoke and spice.

Palate: Rich leather smoke, citrus and grapefruit. Some chocolate too.

Aged in American Bourbon barrels.

Lagavulin 1999 Distillers Edition (Double Matured)

Holly’s Tasting Note..

Nose: Sweet figs, caramel corn, cherry cream yogurt.

Palate: Light cream berries, honey and a lighter smoke than the nose.

I preferred the 16YR to this one.

Aged mainly in American Bourbon and then 3-6 months in Pedro Ximenez.

8 Year Old 200th Anniversary Edition48%ABV

Holly’s Tasting Note..

Nose: Cherry fruit cup (Dole Fruit Cup), creamy vanilla, honey and sharp and deep peat when you put your nose deep.

Palate: Wood, peat and some sweet peach.

I was nervous because I purchased this a few months ago and plan to leave it and not open it. I liked it for an 8YR old and now I wish I could drink it! Will save this more for collecting reasons I think.

Lagavulin 12 Year Old Cask Strength56.8% ABV

Holy’s Tasting Note..

Nose: Sharp honey wood, green tea with honey, salty peat and kelp.

Palate: Toffee, very oily, sweet and salty pretzel.

Much sharper peat than the 16 year old.

Lagavulin Jazz Festival Edition 201654.5%ABV

Holly's Tasting Note..

Nose: Peach, honey, pear, salty wood and some peat.

Palate: Flowers, lemon and almost like Corona with lime.

First fill bourbon barrels were used for this special edition.

Lagavulin will always be one of my favorites and go to. I think it is safe to say that is true for the industry in general. Many peated whiskies are compared and contrasted against the Lagavulin 16 year old. It is a staple and worth every penny. Everyone must try this as their first Islay whisky if they haven’t ever had any!

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