Lagavulin 16 | 43% abv (86 Proof), $79.99/bottle (Bevmo) oops
Color/Appearance: This is a beautiful amber and looks fabulous in the glass. It looks so nice, in-fact, that any thoughts of the colorant used are banished instantly. Here as if, from a painting. (See wonderful example.) Really the classiest packaging in whisky. This bottle looks like an old seafarer kept it safe in a well worn trunk. A personal treasure earned after many long voyages. You take one look at this bottle and know that the liquid contained inside has been cared for.
Palate: Smoke, spice and sweet fruit. There is a medicinal peat presence blending nicely with the fruits but it is subtle. This is one of the smokier peated malts. I love that unique vegetal peat taste but its lower volume here really allows for full appreciation of the exotic smoke taste. This feels so good in the mouth. Really its relatively low alcohol content helps here. Where you can just swirl and swirl this stuff around in your mouth, never wanting or needing to swallow.
Finish: Smoky and long, going on and on and on. So many pleasant crescendos tapering out so slowly. Wisps of smoke and caramel. Here the sophistication of this world class malt really hits you.
Overall: If you are still reading this, you know that you love this stuff as much as I do. If you have never owned this bottle, you must. If you have, and are out, go get some more right now. This stuff is just so fantastic, it’s that good. Course we can all dream of a little more abv% but with the juice already this good, why? For any lover of peated whisky this bottle is a touchstone. A handmade wood and leather cigar case in a wool sweater.
If to you, this is not a pleasant bottle you may have one of two problems.
1) You don’t like peat. If so, you are probably not going to like this. Because while so smooth and elegant it also packs quite a powerful peated profile.
2) You are an extremely jaded person who has too many Ardbeg’s from the seventies and can no longer see the beauty of this fine bottling.