The last time I reviewed the Lagavulin 16 was in 2015 and that was a relatively timely review, being of a bottle from the 2014 release. And the previous year I’d reviewed another Lagavulin 16 from the 2012 release. Well, I’m sorry to say that my review in 2019 is not quite so timely, being of a bottle released between the other two. But any idiot can be useful; it takes a special kind of idiot to care whether a bottle from a massive release from one year is very much like the two in the adjacent years. Let’s see if it is.
Lagavulin 16, 2013 Release (43%; from my own bottle)
Nose: Big mossy, organic peat and quite a bit of lemon too; the whole medicinal/disinfectant complex is right there too. As it sits the big phenolic notes come to the front, picking up sweet inky notes along the way, and it gets quite briny as well. With more time there’s pencil lead, a touch of ham and also a sweeter note of vanilla-cream. Water blunts it a little bit and pushes back the smoke.
Palate: All the stuff from the nose is here but the lemon is less pronounced and the smoke is ashier. The texture is pretty good for 43%. Picks up tar with every sip and some cracked black pepper too. With time the lemon and brine pop out here as well. More of the lemon and salt with water and it’s sweeter now too.
Finish: Long. The smoke expands and takes over and it’s more tarry here. Big, billowing clouds of smoke. Less tarry and more acidic here too with water.
Comments: Based on my earlier reviews this seems a bit closer to the 2012 than the 2014 release but they’re all clearly the same whisky. I have another bottle of this 2013 release and also one from 2009 on my shelves. Perhaps I’ll look to buy a more recent release before opening the 2009 and maybe I’ll do that before finishing this bottle so I can compare them head to head. I liked the nose much better neat but liked the change on the palate with water.
Rating: 88 points.