Is Lagavulin peaty or smoky?

Answered by Robert Golston

Lagavulin, a renowned brand in the world of single malts, offers a distinctive flavor profile that is both peaty and smoky. The Lagavulin 16, their most well-known expression, exemplifies these characteristics.

When I first encountered Lagavulin 16, I was immediately struck by its intense peatiness. The aroma wafting from the glass was like a campfire on a crisp autumn evening, with strong hints of earthy, smoldering peat. The peat used in Lagavulin's production comes from the nearby Port Ellen distillery, which adds a unique local terroir to the whisky.

Upon taking my first sip, the smokiness of Lagavulin 16 became apparent. It was like tasting a warm, comforting embrace of smoky flavors that enveloped my palate. The smokiness is a result of the malted barley being dried over a peat fire during the malting process. This imparts a distinct smoky character to the whisky, which is further enhanced during the aging process.

The aging of Lagavulin 16 in oak for a minimum of 16 years contributes to the development of its complex flavors. The wood imparts a subtle sweetness and depth to the whisky, balancing out the intense peat and smoke. As I savored each sip, I could detect a subtle interplay between the peat, smoke, and underlying sweetness. It was a harmonious symphony of flavors that danced on my tongue.

The finish of Lagavulin 16 is truly remarkable. The peat and smoke linger on the palate, leaving a lasting impression. But it is not just the peat and smoke that linger; there are also delicate wood notes that add a touch of elegance to the whisky. This combination of flavors creates a memorable and satisfying finish.

Lagavulin 16 is a peaty and smoky single whisky that showcases the brand's expertise in crafting bold and robust flavors. The intense peatiness and smokiness are complemented by subtle sweetness, wood notes, and a lingering finish. It is a whisky that demands attention and rewards those who appreciate the rich complexity of a well-aged single malt.