Is Lagavulin 16 sweet?

Answered by Marvin Richey

Lagavulin 16 is often described as having a sweet character, although it is important to note that this sweetness is not in the traditional sense. Unlike other whiskies that may have a honey-like sweetness, Lagavulin's sweetness comes from the interplay of its peat and other flavors.

When nosing Lagavulin 16, the first thing that strikes you is the distinctive smoky aroma. However, it is not the typical campfire or bonfire smoke that you might expect. Instead, it leans more towards a unique combination of Lapsang Souchong and pipe tobacco. This gives it a complex and intriguing smokiness that sets it apart from other peated whiskies.

In addition to the smokiness, there are other underlying aromas that contribute to the overall sweetness of Lagavulin 16. There are hints of laurel and light cereal, adding a touch of herbal and grainy sweetness. These notes play nicely with the smoky elements, creating a harmonious balance on the nose.

Moving on to the palate, the smokiness continues to dominate, but there is more to discover. The peat in Lagavulin 16 has a distinctive character that can be likened to creosote, a tar-like substance. This adds a robust and intense smokiness that lingers on the palate. However, amidst the smoke, there are also subtle hints of kelp and a touch of iodine. These flavors give a slight maritime quality to the whisky, further enhancing its complexity.

It is important to note that while Lagavulin 16 has a sweet undertone, it is not overly sugary or cloying. Instead, the sweetness is more of a complement to the smoky and peaty flavors, creating a well-rounded and balanced profile.

Personal experiences can greatly influence one's perception of sweetness. For example, someone who is accustomed to sweeter whiskies may find Lagavulin 16 to be less sweet in comparison. On the other hand, someone who enjoys peated whiskies may appreciate the subtle sweetness that Lagavulin 16 offers.

Lagavulin 16 can be considered sweet, but not in the traditional sense. Its sweetness comes from the interplay of its peat, smokiness, and other underlying flavors. The Lapsang Souchong tea and pipe tobacco notes add a unique sweetness that is balanced by the robust creosote and maritime elements. It is a whisky that offers a complex and intriguing taste experience, appealing to both peat lovers and those seeking a touch of sweetness in their dram.