Tasting Notes: Lagavulin – Friends of Classic Malts (Triple Matured)

Lagavulin – Friends of the Classic Malts

In 2014, Diageo started to release a new subset of whiskies within its Classic Malt series, exclusively for the “Friends of the Classic Malts”. Each of the expressions were to be “Triple Matured” and WU got its hands on the Lagavulin FOCM expression. There is no-age-statement associated with the expressions, but the suspicions amongst writers and those in the know seem to be that this is the standard Lagavulin 16 that has received 6 months further maturation in American Oak and 6 months further maturation in European Oak.

ABV: 48%


M: Instantly smelt more like a Laphroaig from just down the road in Islay, but after going back there’s a cleaner, less iodine-fuelled smoke and power to it. It doesn’t seem to be Lagavulin’s signature full-on smoky nose – it’s a sweeter smoke. It’s definitely got more of a salinity than the gold standard 16yo too. 


M: Big flavours at play here. Thick, chewy caramel sweetness, with a hazelnut tang and dryness at first sip and then big, big, sweet smoke just rocks up and knocks those other flavours right out of the park.


M: A long, long finish with that sweet and smoky flavour battle lasting all the way down. Once it seems to have gone away it then comes right back without having to take another sip.


M: Given that this is a variation on one of my favourite tipples, I was worried that this release might be sacrilege and just an easy cash-in. That said, there seems to be little variation to the standard template but just enough to warrant its own release. Having since learned that there is (relatively) little development to the original product but for the notes additional maturation, then it is understandable. Not in a bad way either. Its definitely a Lagavulin but it’s got more of a saltier taste throughout. Despite that ageing though it still retains some of that original barley taste in there too. Certainly not for the faint hearted or for having more than (large) one in a night but overall it is well worth a try for any discerning Laga-fan.



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Tasting Notes: Lagavulin – 16 Years Old

Lagavulin 16

Lagavulin is widely recognised as one of the leading names in whisky throughout the globe and regularly falls within the same breath as its fellow southern Islay neighbours Laphroaig and Ardbeg. The 16 year old is the core expression of Lagavulin and has (deservedly) garnered cult status amongst whisky fans and peatheads worldwide. Each facet of the dram is distinctive and should be savoured.

ABV: 43%


M: It’s hard to describe without using its own name – its simply, big Lagavulin smoke.

R: So I get a real outdoorsy smell from this. Like a camp fire.With like a caramel-ishness.



M: Caramel sweetness and big rich, fruity flavours at first that are then instantly battered by full malty smoke and oak.

R: I find it kind of evaporates on the tongue very quickly, then fills your mouth with smoky deliciousness.


M: Brown sugar sweetness upfront and then the smoke builds and builds as it coats the throat on the way down, leaving a peppery spiciness in the smoky aftermath.

R: It’s like it’s light and delicate but simultaneously potent and powerful.


M: Amazing. It’s hard to describe as it’s just distinctly Lagavulin. Regardless of whether or not you like smoky whiskies, one encounter with this dram and you can understand why it has cult status. “Mother’s milk” as Ron Swanson would put it.

R: Final verdict, for me, it’s not an every day kind of whisky. It’s the sort of thing you need to be in the right mood for. It’s an evening in front of the fire, with dressing gowns and cigars and a leather bound book kind of drink. One other point. I had a bit of a sinus headache when I poured the glass. It’s gone now.


Lagavulin Bay

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