Lagavulin is one of the eight scotch distilleries that populate the world famous island of Islay.
It was built in 1816, making this year its 200th anniversary, something that has already been celebrated on Islay by Laphroaig and Ardbeg.
Today it is owned by Diageo who include it their Classic Malts collection, where it is joined by the likes of Talisker.
Like most of its island neighbours, Lagavulin are big into their peated expressions and one of their best examples of this is their 16 Year Old.
This is a dram that captures the heavily peated heart of Islay malts and Diageo are right to include this award-winning distillery in their Classic Malts range.
The 16 Year Old has been matured in oak casks and is rich and dry, giving the peat great depth.
It opens with a nose full of peat and iodine. The smoke is inescapable but it’s so good who would want to?
The vanilla spice of the ex-bourbon casks comes through really well on the nose too, offering a sweet and syrupy melody for the tang of the peat smoke to bounce off.
The flavours are deep and while peat is the main player, it does not overwhelm. The hints of subtler flavours are a testament to the greatness of Lagavulin, and can be bought here.
The oak of the barrel is especially evident with its sweet vanilla tones and a little bit of spice.
There is also a nice taste of seaweed that goes along with the iodine flavours. This captures Lagavulin’s Islay home perfectly. It has all the best peated characteristics and reflects the rugged shore wonderfully.
The palate goes along the same lines, filled with peat smoke and seaweed.
The smoke is dense and thick, like being at a bonfire with the wind blowing in your direction. The sparks are there too, with the spice adding a nice kick of warmth.
In the background the seaweed becomes saltier and the breeze coming off the Islay shore can literally be tasted. This dram is the embodiment of its region.
The oak also grows and becomes ever more present underneath the rich peat. It is dry and refined, filled with sweet and spicy flavours.
The finish rounds off well, with all the big flavours present. It ends on a high of peat and salty seaweed, just a small reminder of where exactly it comes from.