Tonight's review is of another classic; the stoic Lagavulin 16 year old. I have to confess I am no expert on Lagavulin. Aside from it being peated and coming from the south of Islay - I know very little about this Diageo owned distillery. Furthermore I've always avoided trying them. Trapped between its showy brothers at Laphroaig and Ardbeg, it always seemed like the clichéd middle child offering nothing more than a sturdy uninspiring malt. As usual I am very very wrong. Lagavulin offers balance, restraint and a refined spirit. Qualities often drowned out by large peaty gestures at Laphroaig and Ardbeg. The Lagavulin 12 year old may be a balls-out offering, and the Distiller's Edition may be a tad confused, but the 16 year old brings complexity to the table. So with apologies to Lagavulin for my previous ignorance, I give you the 16 year old...
43% - Distillery Bottling
Nose: Peat and barbecue smoke with a gristy accompaniment. Then there is kiwi fruit with something orangey beneath.
Palate: Big peat with a thick texture yet refined and larconic.
Finish: The peat has died away to embers and with time baked green apple emerges.
Overall: Absolute classic, excellent structure and balance. The Lagavulin 16 year old isn't about slapping you in the face with a peat shovel it is about restraint and pace, and it is a very hard drink to put down. Slainte!