Posts Tagged With: Islay

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%


Nose

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.

 

Taste

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.


Finish

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.


Verdict

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.

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Lagavulin Bay

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Tasting Notes: Ardbeg – Uigaedail

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Ardbeg Uigaedail

Pronounced oo-gah-dahl, and named after the loch that provides Ardbeg with its spring water on the south east of Islay, this peaty puncher is one of the distillery’s core expressions. The master distillers have taken their revered smoky malt and given it a final and thorough sherry butt maturation. Bottled at a high percentage, this monster promises to be a heavy hitter in all aspects of the drinking exprience.

ABV: 54.2%

Nose

M: Quite sweet and surprisingly floral but sherry pokes through. The usual Ardbeg peat is there but seems to be restrained.

Taste

M: Ardbeg’s trademark peaty hit then really makes itself known upfront but isn’t as bruising as you would expect and makes way for a fruitcake/fudge taste with big, strong flavours to balance the peat.

Finish

M: A lasting burn with peat and sherry entwined, but the peat has the last laugh when you breathe again.

Verdict

M: This is a peaty whisky turned up to 11! It goes beyond being just about Ardbeg’s distinctive peat and power. The high ABV and peat on paper make it seem like it might blow your head off but actually it is balanced really well and doesn’t need taming with water at all – which makes it dangerous stuff. Definitely not a driver’s drink. The sherry influence is notable with rich, rounded fruit flourishes. Big flavours, big finish, big smile on my face.

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Tasting Notes: Laphroaig – 10 Years Old

Laphroaig

Laphroaig

Laphroaig (“La-froyg”) is a distillery that bookends the 3 big peaty players on the south-east coast of Islay and is renowned worldwide for its peaty and malty taste that is best demonstrated by its flagship 10 year old expression. The first thing that is striking, before you even get to the liquid itself, is the rather alien looking word and it’s distinctive black and white label on a green bottle. It instantly displays elegance and class and has a mysterious, cult like feel. And why is that? Because when you open it: BOOM!!! The stuff is liquid dynamite. It’s big, it’s bold, it’s unique and it can only be called Laphroaig.

ABV: 40%

 

Nose

M: Little burn, rounded peat smell with sea air and malt.

S: Can you get an island in a nose? You sure can when it’s Laphroaig! Pure Islay, smooth balance between peat, smoke and salt.

T: Not many whiskies are so evocative on the nose, L10 is just everything Islay! Smoky, strong, fresh, heathers, salty with hints of licorice.

 

Taste

M: Full flavoured, vanilla, oak, digestive biscuit, slight sea salt, then pow! The peat gets you. It delivers the peat smoke and the charred ex-bourbon barrel.

S: The sweet and peaty flavours are perfectly balanced. There is a softness that belies that overall punch.

T: Boom….followed by another boom! Flavours fired at you at a million miles an hour and all of them great! Very rounded and smooth with rough edge. Smoky peat hits, woods and biscuity…oh and the charred remains of burnt biscuits from the oven too.

 

Finish

M: Smooth, lingering and smoky to the max.

S: The sweet and peaty flavours are perfectly balanced. There is a softness that belies that overall punch.

T: After the initial burn a smooth sweet, peaty and smoky flavour hangs and intensifies and changes. You can feel the flavours dancing around your mouth for an age!

 

Verdict

M: For me, this is THE entry-level Islay whisky. Full of flavour, texture and peat. A treat from start to finish. You’ll never forget it and you’ll always come back.

S: Islay engineering at its best for an entry-level whisky.

T: A whisky collection isn’t a whisky collection without L10! Oh but Laphroaig please cut the “Mit Karamel” crap!!! 

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