Lagavulin (16 year)

Lagavulin produces a classic 16-year Islay single-malt which is well known for its mellow roundness and liberal use of peat. It can be difficult to find a bottle in retail that hasn’t been marked up dramatically. I once saw a bottle in a Lake Tahoe liquor store priced at $115!

The aroma is unmistakably smokey, with none of the molasses notes of some maltier Scotches. I smell a little pine or cedar, and maybe a suggestion of sea air or brine. The aroma is clearer and more concentrated in the glass without water added, so I suggest smelling this whisky before adding a few drops of water, if that’s your thing.

The mouthfeel is smooth and luxurious, with a noticeably low level of fire on the tongue. The early flavors get straight to the oak, and then to the peat, with a hint of fruit or hazelnut. There are medium notes of peat and some smoke on the tongue which are more pronounced in the finish. The finish is long and straightforward, mostly campfire and a suggestion of cherry or cherrywood. The sugar of the barley is not forward in this bottle, but the balance between peat and malt, and the smoothness with which it comes off, make this a very satisfying dram.

I could not identify a difference between the glass with a few drops of water added and the glass without, except that the straight-up flavor was more cohesive and coated my mouth more fully. I personally do not think this Scotch benefits from the addition of water.

This Lagavulin is a prime example of a smokey Islay malt with some years behind it. The peat is aggressive, but the oak balances it nicely. The age of the malt gives it a roundness and mutes the fire.

This Scotch might pair well with a cigar, a small amount of fatty fish (salmon or mackerel), a well-aged steak, or a creamy dessert. It is probably best enjoyed by itself, however.

Lagavulin (16 year)
43.0% ABV
ScotchNoob™ Mark:
Price Range: $50-$85
Acquired: (Bottle): K&L Wines in Redwood City, CA. $65.

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  • I recently took advantage of the Costco deal as well and bought several bottles. Lagavulin 16 YO is still a top five whisky in my book and at $52, it was the best deal of the year for me.

    • It is still the best deal at Costco when they have it. Just recently (Nov. 2017) was on vacation in Kauai and they had it for $52. Picked up 6 bottles (I live in Washington state and the liquor tax doubles the price there).

  • One of my favorite scotches, but getting ungodly expensive. Can’t find for less than $90 here in Illinois now. That still doesn’t stop me from always having a bottle in the cupboard. Smoother than Ardbeg, almost bacon-barbequey on the palate. Nice smokiness but the sweet core balances it perfectly. Once you try, I guarantee you’ll be hooked from the first sip. I was anyways!

  • Its $109 here in Ontario (and with the Canadian dollar at par or above…), which is too bad – although curiously, the Lagavulin 12yr is $115. A friend poured me a dram from the 20cl bottle I gave him for Christmas. After the Ardbeg 10yr at a Scotch tasting party in December, the Lagavuling 16yr is the second Islay that I’ve tried (still haven’t cracked my bottle of Bowmore 12yr yet), and oh, what a difference. I can see how the Lagavulin 16yr can make people fall head-over-heels in love with single malt Scotch.

    • I recently moved to Vancouver from NYC, and was surprised to find how much more expensive Scotch whisky is here, especially since bourbon prices are comparable to those in Manhattan (which is to say that they’re at the high end of the typical US range). Since my wife and I take periodic trips back to New York to visit family, and since she can’t stand whisky of any sort, I tend to do most of my Scotch buying south of the border and take advantage of the 1.14L-per-person duty-free allowance.

  • Dan,
    Sorry to hear about the price – we have (on most things) very good prices here in California, although the Lagavulin 12 is $99. Speaking of which, I tried Lagavulin 12 last night for the first time, and while I think it’s an excellent whisky, and interesting to see what Lagavulin is like without partial sherry maturation, it’s also a little thin and ‘missing’ a few components available in the 16. Many people do prefer it, however. I’m glad I prefer the cheaper one. 😀

  • i have a 30 yr old bottle of this that was bought over in isla around 1982!i wonder how much its worth though i dont know if id sell it.

    • Hi Brian,
      I don’t know very much about the value of older bottles. Usually the types of bottles that show up at auctions are for whiskies that are no longer available, such as single-cask bottlings, discontinued expressions, defunct distilleries, or vintage-aged bottles (e.g. Glenrothes 1965). Since whisky (like any spirit) does not age in the bottle, your Lagavulin 16 is the same liquid that it was 30 years ago, as long as it was stored well (not in direct sunlight, not exposed to extreme variations in temperature, and with an intact air seal/cork). There may be a secondary market for older bottles that have vintage labels or are otherwise distinguishable from modern bottlings… but I don’t know – I guess hit up Google, or try contacting one of the auction agencies that manage whisky auctions. Cheers!

    • I know this is a very late response but I have only recently come across this site. Your c.1982 bottling would be of immense interest to those who would want to taste what Lagavulin 16 was like back then. The stocks used and the blends made differ from year to year and often standards rise and fall. Some say that the quality of the Lagavulin 16 has declined in recent years and I have to admit that a drink I had last year did seem less distinctive than what I recall from years ago. Again, it might be my imagination but it has been reflected in some of the commentary I have read. In fact reviews of the recent 200 year anniversary special of a Lagavulin 8 year old has some people prefering it to the Lagavulin 16 as odd as that may seem.

      • I have heard this as well. I’ve also heard it attributed to the restriction of stock. Whereas they used to dump whatever older barrels were hanging around (with nobody willing to buy them) into the 16-year, now it is all strictly 16 and suffers for the comparison. Hearsay, of course, but believable.

  • Oh Lagavulin how much I wanted to embrace you! I just can’t get over that band-aid note/taste. I have gone thru 2 bottles trying to find the love which fans shower Lagavulin with! I am also surprised that you didn’t mention that distinct bandage adhesive/medicine note in your review. To me it’s that note which either brings in the fans or sends them away (IMHO)

    • Justin, Thanks for the comment! I (for some reason) don’t identify the adhesive note that you mention. Perhaps in the same way that some people can’t distinguish between sugar and sugar-substitutes, I never pick up on that particular note. My love for Lagavulin is derived mostly from the exquisite balance between peat and sweet – not as medicinal and dry as Laphroaig, not as in-your-face as Ardbeg, and yet managing to integrate just the right amount of vanilla from the wood with cereal sugar from the malt. Next time I pop a bottle of Lagavulin 16, I’ll try again to detect the bandaid note.

      • I may be coming into this conversation a bit late but I have to agree with Justin. This Scotch is completely undermined by the very distinctive characteristic of brettanomyces. I too cannot get past the ‘band-aid’ aroma and flavor that dominates this dram. Perhaps we are the only two Scotch drinkers to have these flawed bottles but that is unlikely. Brettanomyces (Brett) would most likely infect the entire lot. Unfortunately, like Justin, all I get is band-aid. Here is a basic breakdown of where that comes from:

    • the taste you are talking about it the iodine like flavour one gets. it is basically due to the closeness of sea to these distilleries and i believe its sea weed or something

    • My wife and I just bought a bottle of Lagavulin 16 from Costco. We read reviews and all the reviews we read at the time were overwhelmingly positive, so we decided to try it. I knew going in that the nose was going to be smokey and as expected, it was. But good lord I was not expecting the taste. Both my wife and I sat for a minute and then unanimously concluded that we did not like it. But, we couldn’t figure out what it was about a certain flavor note we were picking up on…until I read your comment about the band-aid note/taste. That is exactly spot on what it tastes like for us as well. All palettes are different though, so for some that note doesn’t shine through, but for my wife and I…we were very disappointed.

    • i have to agree with justin and scott here it does taste a bit like bandaid or medicine. maybe because i am still new to scotch and i guess my palette is still in the amateur stage.

  • This is my absolute favorite scotch of all time. You will pay 123.00 out the door for a bottle up here in Washington though!! So this slows me down a bit, but I will grab a bottle here and there when I am feeling lucky 🙂 It is like drinking a campfire.. but in a good way, if that is possible 🙂

  • This is my boyfriends favorite type of scotch – his birthday is this week and I want to get him a different kind, but similar to the Lagavulin 16. Any suggestions?

    • Hi LZita,
      The closest scotch I can think of to Lagavulin 16 is Ardbeg 10 year. Most people who like Lagavulin 16 also like Talisker 10 (which I prefer over the Ardbeg). On the cheaper end, Laphroaig Quarter-Cask is somewhat similar. Caol Ila 10 is similar as well, but milder. I’ve heard good things about Bowmore, but haven’t tried it myself. Hope that helps!

      • I know I’m like three years late on this, but it may help others. For me, if you’re looking for something of a alternative to the Lag 16, I would recommend the Ardbeg Uegiedail. To me, it’s like the Lag 16 on steroids.

        • Also late, but another kudo. The 16 is my favorite for a pre-prandial with smoked salmon. Exquisite when allowed to open up for a few minutes in a snifter held in a warm hand, neat. All the sharp notes soften, the complexity comes forward, and I do not detect what others sense in the medicinal or band-aid component.

  • I finally found a bottle here in Topeka, Kansas, at $92. I have been a scotch drinker for a few years and my favorite, bar none, is Talisker 10. There are others that come close, but Talisker can settle the decision everytime I pour a dram. Now what did I think of the Lagavulin? Well I haven’t sampled it yet. The store owner informed me that the Chinese have purchased all the US Bottles for the next few years so it will be hard to find in the US. Has anyone else heard this? I bought a bottle of Laphroaig 16 yea at the same time to share with was very enjoyable as well.

    • Hi Michael,

      I hadn’t heard that specifically, no, but I do know that Asian markets are exploding in the whisky sector (specifically scotch) right now. Usually, product is bottled with a destination in mind – ie, 5000 cases for the US, 3000 for the UK, etc. Part of the reason for this is that US import law requires the bottles to be 750ml whereas everywhere else in the world they are 700ml. I find it unlikely that Chinese importers would be allowed to buy allocation meant for the US. It is, however, possible that Diageo has diverted allocations away from other countries to encourage the larger, newer markets in Asia. That is happening across the board.

      • Easy to find here in Taiwan. Sells for about 56$ US a bottle. The market for this is huge. As is the market for Macallan 12 year Gran Reserve. Though the price of that doubled in the past year and is getting hard to purchase in Taiwan as China is buying it all.

  • Lagavulin 16 year is my father’s go-to single malt scotch. Personally, I usually go with Talisker instead. This is partially due to the fact that Lagavulin currently sells for $115 in Ontario (compared to $80 for Talisker). But if you are a big fan of peat, both are very good in my books.

  • I’m new to to whisky and at my local high-end liquor store I found a set that contained smaller bottles of this, Talisker 10 and Cragganmore 12.

    I *wanted* to like Lagavulin, I really did. After reading many reviews I was excited to try it but it’s just too much smoke for me, I think. I didn’t get the medicinal quality that some people complain of, but it was the smoke and the fact that it lingered for 30+ minutes. I will try again a few more times before putting away the bottle, but I’m not sure this is a flavour I will grow to like.

    However, I loved the Talisker 10 and will be buying a normal bottle of that. The Cragganmore 12 was ok, nothing objectionable in it, but I found it rather bland and unremarkable.

    • Tanja,
      Thanks for the comment! Glad you liked Talisker 10 – that’s a great whisky. If Lagavulin is too smoky for you, you might want to also avoid Laphroaig, and Ardbeg. If you want to go for medium peat (like Talisker), Caol Ila, Bowmore, and Highland Park might be worth a shot. If Cragganmore was bland, you may want to try some heavily sherried malts, like GlenDronach, Macallan, Aberlour, etc. Cheers!

    • Tanja,
      sounds like you’ve learned the first and biggest lesson in scotch drinking -> You can’t trust anything anyone says about what a scotch tastes like <-
      And your first tip should be when they ascribe a dozen different flavors and smells, most if not all of which it usually doesn't have.
      You really can't determine anything by reading reviews, they're just trying to fill up space to sound important, afterall who would need them if all they wrote was one or two breif to the point sentenace, which by the way is all that is needed.
      There are only about a half dozen basic tasting scotchs, and if the reviews would just tell you which one they most resemble, why you as a read would be way ahead of the game.
      My suggestion to you, rather than taking a shot in the dark and drop 80 bucks based on some silly meaningless review, find yourself a bar that has a good scotch selection, and for starters try (not all in one night) each of the classic scotchs from each region. That will help give you a reference point, after that when looking a new scotch decern which region it belongs to and you'll be way ahead of the game.
      I completely ignore what other people write about scotch, if anything if a lot of people trash it, I'm inclined to try it, because the masses tend to like what the masses like, which is usually the girl with all the cheap makeup, if you get my point.
      happy hunting

  • Finally got my hands on this winner for $49.99 thanks to the sale going on at Costco from now until July 7(at least in the So Cal area). I had always wanted to try it but couldn’t pull the trigger at its regular price of $62.99 and up. Glad this sale hit because I may have found my new go to Islay and possibly my new favorite scotch. The Laphroaig brand, most notably the Quarter Cask, has always been my favorite but I feel like the Lagavulin 16 will be taking over that top spot. I see the Lagavulin 16 as a smoother version of the QC, which really makes it the perfect single malt for my particular taste. I will definitely be stocking up on a couple more bottles before the sale ends!

    P.S. Really enjoy the blog!

  • I was recently given a bottle of Lagavulin 16 as a gift, and I am hooked. I am new to single-malt scotch, and used to just keep a bottle of Bulleit bourbon on hand for the occasional drink. I don’t think I can go back. Luckily, my local liquor store carries Lagavulin 16 for $60, and after reading some of the comments above, that seems like a good deal. I will also keep an eye out for it next time I make a Costco run.

    Thanks for this great website! It’s great to have a new hobby that my wife can partake in.

    • Jason, Laga 16 at $60. It’s a steal. Two days ago, I ordered Laga 16 from Astor Wines on big promotion for $57.80 delivered to New Orleans. That promo ended yesterday. At $60, go out right now & get it. In the present day all over the internet vendors, Laga 16 goes for between $68 & $90. Don’t tarry. Cheers.

  • 69ish bucks at my costco, sounds worth it instead i got a phased out bottle of 18 year johnnie walker gold label next time costco you can take all of my money.

  • Just picked up my first bottle of this. ~$90 at a local shop. A bit steep but worth it. Absolutely lovely. My only other experience with Islay is Ardbeg 10, which I find has a bit of a bite to it, not so with Laga 16. Smooth as silk. Peaty delicious silk.

  • Lag’ 16 does a bang up job of seducing the amateur scotch drinker.
    Personally it takes a lot more than fake boobs and bleached hair to get my attention. But – hey if it gets you off – go for it.

  • ohboy – if you are going to slag off on Lag 16, I think it is fair to ask you what you recommend instead.

    Anyhow, I’m wondering how this compares to two scotches I currently enjoy, Laphroaig 10 and Macallan 12. The Lagavulin sounds like it has the smoke/peat of an Islay, but perhaps a notch below that of the Laphroaig. I’ve also seen tasting notes referring to sherry, but I don’t know if the Lagavulin is actually ages in sherry casks, or if it resembles the Macallan 12 in any way.

    Thanks for the info.

    • Hi Joel,
      Comparing Laphroaig 10 and Lagavulin 16, I would say the Lagavulin is a little more “refined” – some might call it smoother (in both texture and in the force of the peat character). It has more fruit-centric flavors, owing to partial aging in sherry casks (some unknown percentage (50? 100?) is aged in refill sherry casks. I’ve never found a reputable source for this, but the flavor is clearly influenced by sherry. The peat is more subtle, likely because the sherry influence muffles it. I would say that Lagavulin 16 has more “quality” than Laphroaig, but less of that powerful peat flavor that draws so much attention to Islay. They’re different enough for the peat-lover to keep a bottle of each on hand. By the way, the Laphroaig Quarter-Cask is even better than the 10, in my opinion, it has more oak and doesn’t lose any of the power of the 10 year.

      • Having now tried a few more Islays, including Lagavulin 16, I agree with your findings. The Lag could be called “more refined” or “muffled” compared to Laphroaig 10, depending on my tastes that day. At this time I slightly prefer the Ardbeg Uigeadail if I want some sherry mixed with my peat, but would never turn down a pour of either one.

        (I also concur with your recommendation of Laphroiag Quarter Cask – great finish on that one.)

  • So I just tried Lagavulin 16. It was my first Islay and my second Scotch (I had a Glenlivit 12 yesterday) I must say I really enjoyed it. I loved the smoke and I felt like I was camping. One thing though, what in the world does peat taste like? I’m guessing it was in there, but I have no idea what it tastes like so I couldn’t tease it out.

    • Hi Chad,
      When we refer to “peat” in a whisky, we’re usually talking about the smoky character. Peat (which is decomposed bog plants) gets into whisky in two ways: One is through spring water that runs through peat bogs on its way to the distillery – that water is then used to bring the whisky down from barrel proof (60% ABV or so) down to bottling proof (40% to 46% usually). This type of peat tends to be mild and comes across as tasting like moss or soil or various kinds of plants (like heather). The other way is for peat to be burned to produce smoke – the heat from the burning peat dries (kilns) the malting barley, and the smoke suffuses it with a smoky flavor. That’s the strong peat/smoke flavor that you generally taste (and smell) in peated whisky. Cheers!

        • Chad,
          I think of it this way: Most peat tastes and smells like wood smoke and charcoal or, as some reviewers put it, “campfire”. This makes sense, since the peat is actually burned in order to “smoke” the malted barley. In addition, peat carries extra flavors and aromas depending on the type of peat (how deeply it was dug), where it came from (inland or seaside, for example), and what it’s composed of (heather and grasses or seaweed). In my experience, the stronger the peat flavor (the higher the ‘ppm’ phenol count), the more the smoke overwhelms those other flavors. Some tasters are much better at picking out individual components in peat than I am.

          • This is a perfect description ! Helped me out too, as I go deeper into the Scotch world. I recently tried a blend ( did not like ) called, ‘ Smokey Joe’. Supposedly a blend of Islay brands . I liked the ‘ smoke’ but didn’t like the odd Sharpie marker on fire side taste.
            Now I know it was the phenols… I still want
            To try Ardbeg and Laphroig … Will that be huge in those as well though ? Again I didn’t mind the campfire part… It was the ‘other’ lol

  • This is without doubt a top three dram. Simply amazing. Beautiful smoke, sweet, complex, no burn, very very smooth. Great mouthfeel. The positive reviews you encounter for Lagavulin 16 are all an understatement. Other islay malts pale by comparison. Laphroaig 10 is simply not in the same league – nothing against those who are fond of Laphroaig 10

    • Hey Paul,

      I just bought a bottle (decent price too at $65.00 ) and thus far I’m not impressed. I like big, bold Scotches like Laphroaig, Talisker, and the new and improved Bunnahabain 12 (non-chill-filtered and no E150a). I’m sipping a dram of Lagavulin 16 as I write this and I’m just not very impressed. It isn’t bad or anything, just nothing to write home about yet (as the bottle empties the flavor of Scotch changes fairly dramatically so when I get past the half-empty mark it might get better or worse).

      I’m after more smokey flavor verse just raw peat, and I like the heavy medicinal flavors and sharp mint that follows a dram of Laphroaig 10.

      Having read a lot of reviews on Lagavulin 16 I feel misled and let down. It isn’t a smoke or peat monster like many have said. It’s quite tame and gentle. I expected a lot more out of this bottle of Scotch. I really hope it improves as I sample it.

      • Grey, I couldn’t agree more and feel missled as well. This may have more to do with Lagavulin 16 just declining in quality (I bought my first and probably last bottle in March, 2018) but your bottle was at least a couple years older than mine. Bottom line, I hate to see Scotch Noobs waste their time (and money!) on something just because it hasn’t been properly reviewed RECENTLY. Also, I guess it’s kind of the “In thing” right now to have (and like) Lagavulin 16 because Ron Swanson from the show Parks and Recreation drinks it! Just sad. Ultimately for me this wiskey just offers me nothing. It’s not peaty, it’s not Smokey and it just doesn’t deliver that punch or have a lasting finish like other peated wiskeys. And at $65 a bottle it’s just the most overated wiskey I’ve ever tasted… And I’ve tasted over priced wiskeys…Balvenie 21 at $230, Johnnie Walker Blue $150 and the Johnnie Walker Blue Cask Edition $300 (this was actually worth the money! But that’s a different post.). If you want to get into the peated wiskeys get a bottle of Ardbeg 10 or Laphroaig 10. Ardbeg 10 is better, Laphroaig 10 is cheaper but you can’t go wrong with either for the money.

  • As a Scotch lover, I just graduated to what I call “experienced”. It’s wedged in between novice and expert. I have since discovered along my way, I perfer peat. Lagavulin 16 and Laphroaig 10 are standard home stock. I do enjoy Speysiders, especially The Balvenie 12 Double Wood! Great website and have learned a ton from it!

  • As a scotch noob myself, I’m glad I discovered this before I gave up and ran back to craft beers. After trying a few significantly more affordable drams, (see Glenfiddich12 Glenlivet12) I was ready to swear off scotch. So glad I got a taste of the other end of the spectrum. This is a SERIOUS whisky. The” light” stuff isn’t for me at all and having been told to start on “starter” drams was a horrible disservice to me. While it’s definitely the most expensive bottle I’ve ever bought at 92 bucks, I don’t regret a penny. Big flavor, Almost no fire, but smoke that lingers forever. Absolutely love it.

  • I dont know if we got a bad bottle somehow but this was the nastiest tasting alcohol of anytype I have ever drank I would describe the after taste like drinking Cloraseptic soar throat medicine. My friend whose bottle it was describes it as tasting like perfume. Rather drink the Costco 20year old scotch for $45 anyday.

    • Hi bmartin – Had you had Lagavulin before, or any peated scotch before? They’re very different than non-peated scotch like the Costco 20 (and 18) year. Definitely can be an acquired taste. If you have had peated scotch before and enjoyed it, then this does sound like a bad bottle. Lagavulin is usually very consistent in quality and considered to be one of the best peated single malt scotches available for under $60, but I suppose it’s possible that a bottle could have been contaminated (corked) or in some other way “gone bad”.

  • I picked up my first bottle for $72 and went straight home to give it a try (this is my first peated scotch). I was struck by the antiseptic nose and taste (as others have noted). It filled me with childhood memories of going to the doctors office. Day two proved to be a dramatic transformation. The antiseptic was gone and replaced with the peaty smoke. Extremely smooth with little fire on the tongue, I was transported from the doctors office straight to a pub on a cold rainy day, peat fire filling the space with warmth and fragrance. Very Nice! I have no explanation for the transformation from day 1 to day 2? I will definitely buy another bottle.

  • Recently returned to scotch (mostly Glenlivet/JW and other blendeds) after a few years when I started working at a specialty craft beer/liquor store here in Hawaii. The first bottle I bought on my new employee discount was the Lagavulin 16. All I can say is “wow”, and “I could drink this all night”.

      • Hey Cody, I just grabbed a bottle of the Lagavulin 16 at Costco in Waipio for $53 today. I’ve seen it for more in other places (about $68 at Tamuras). And FYI, you don’t have to be a member to buy alcohol there.

  • Well done – great review!

    First and foremost, Lagavulin 16 is not for everyone. Doesn’t matter how long a person has been whisky, some people will simply not enjoy the Islay flavor profile. But that’s what I find so great about scotch that you don’t find in bourbons – that really broad range of flavor profiles. I like Ardbeg and Laphroaig, but love Lagavulin due the better mouth-feel and more multi-dimensional finish. All Islay whiskies give that big, bold punch and long-lasting finish that you can still taste the next morning, but Lagavulin just has that extra level of complexity of flavors. If Lagavulin 16 is your favorite, buy it if you can because the price is creeping up, and now sells for over $100 bucks where I live.

  • I purchased a bottle about one year ago. I am relatively new (2-3 years) to single malt and have been loving alost anything Balvenie distills. Anyway, last year I opened the 16 yr. Lagavulin, enjoyed the aroma, poured a dram and savored the initial taste. Suddenly I was overhwhelmed with peat and smoke and -eeeechhhh!!!- who knows WHAT! I dared not finish it. My son has been slowly emptyting the bottle since. This evening I thought, hell – Iʻll give it another shot. My God! What have I been missing? Either my taste buds have completely changed or I have matured into a true single malt devotee. Hell, Lagavulin is so… immense yet, so mellow. Sweet, smooth, little burn – I canʻt believe what I have been missing. Tomorow evening I think Iʻll share it with a Rocky Patel Vintge 1990. Life is sweet.

    • Good story, thanks Ed. I think peated malts are definitely an acquired taste, but (as you experienced) they can be acquired quickly. My first-ever single malt was a fiercely smoky Laphroaig 10 year, and my first taste was hard to handle – the tarry, ashy, medicinal peat is a weird thing to encounter first go, but I quickly warmed up to it, as you have. Cheers, and enjoy!

  • What a great website! Although Macallan 12 is my usual go to, my neighbor introduced me to Lagavulin 16 and I absolutely love it (he’s now my new best friend)! I only wish I could find it at some of the prices I’ve read here. It’s every bit of $100 everywhere I’ve found it here in San Diego (but worth it).

  • Something amazing happened tonight… I poured my occasional dram of scotch, another Lagavulin 16 try… I’ve loved the smell, the character, but can’t say I’ve ever finished the glass and said it was really enjoyable as much as memorable, an experience. Tonight I plunked a medium sized ice cube into the glass…and finally, bliss! If you haven’t, please try at least once!

  • I do believe this dram opens up a tad with a drop of water. And with this said I mean just a drop of water per ounce in hopefully what your drinking from is the glencairn whisky glass.

  • I’m surprised in that I have actually revised my opinion of Lagavulin 16 downward as time has gone on. It’s so well made, yet it’s just very one-dimensional. There’s no malt sugar at all. The flavor profile is just really, really smooth peat. It’s all smoke.

  • I wish I could have tried Lagavulin 16 about 5 years ago. Sounds like it was a good Malt back then. Unfortunately I bought my first (and definitely last!) bottle back in March and it’s just not good. The nose is ok but it’s not a smooth velvety combination of vanilla and peat-bomb. It’s more medicinal and off-putting and no kick to the finish. It’s just blah. Very disappointed for a $65 bottle. Since I bought this I’ve gone through Laphroaig 10, Laphroaig Triple Wood, Laphroaig Cask Strength, Ardbeg 10, Ardbeg Uigeadail and Ardbeg Corryvrecken. Granted, the Laphroaig Cask Strength and the Uigeadail and Corryvrecken are maybe a couple bucks more. But I’d take the base Laphroaig 10 over the Lagavulin 16 any day of the week. Ardbeg 10 is light-years ahead for their entry level Peated Scotch.
    This current version of Lagavulin 16 is so bad I can’t even finish the bottle… I seriously might just toss it!

  • $115 is probably what it should cost, maybe not in 2010 when this was written. I sell it for about $90 and usually pay about $80 for it, so retailers are not getting rich off selling this stuff

    • FWIW, retailers get a lot of unfair blame for whisky prices because they’re on the front lines. Personally, I blame all the middle-men. I can pick-and-choose retailers based on what kind of discounts I can get, or what level of service they offer, but I cannot pick my exporters, importers, distributors, state and local taxation, international tariffs, or (luckily not a problem for me) liquor control boards. That’s where the customer gets screwed.

  • I’m so lucky!!!! I found lagavulin 16 for the CT sate minimum at $60!!! I talked to sales person and the state just arbitrarily tells total wines what brands have to be sold at the minimum and what time. Sales person expect this price to last through the new year! I think it was halarious seeing lagavulin 16 and lagavulin 8 sitting side by side on the shelf with only $6 price difference! Noob I love your site and agree with almost all your reviews! Keep up the good work! By the way, do you think you will review lagavulin 8 any time? Thanks again!

  • Something I have noticed… Lagavulin 16 tastes absolutely amazing when you’re gettiing through the initial one-third to half of the bottle. After that it tends to become “flat” for lack of a better word.

    All I get is alcohol and roughness. Those delicious ham notes, rounded smoke… all gone.

    I got this sensation from a bottle I bought from South Africa and a friend’s bottle that he got in England. Could this be the effect of oxygenation? With mine it took me about 3 months to get halfway. With my friend’s bottle it was one sitting.

    These are bottles that were stored in the dark and carefully recorked.

    I have not experience this with the multiple bottles of Talisker 10, Caol Ila 12, standard GlenDronachs and Glenfiddichs. With Monkey Shoulder and Balvenie DoubleWood I found the taste improves so much as you reach the end.

    Using your rating scale I would say that this is a RECOMMENDED whisky for an opened bottle. It just doesn’t stay consistent enough

    • Interesting observation. There’s so little known about how oxidation affects whisky. As you noted, with some whiskies it can improve them. I haven’t noticed this with Lagavulin specifically, but then I don’t tend to keep many repeat bottles since I’m always buying new stuff to review. I do believe I’ve noticed whiskies that go “flat” near the end of the bottle, especially if I’m taking too long getting through them. Peat is so volatile, it wouldn’t surprise me if this effect is more pronounced with peated bottles.

    • I purchased a bottle of Lagavulin 16 in March, 2018. It’s the worst peated Scotch I’ve had especially for the money. The nose was decent but the pallet was one demensional and just blah with a weak finish. I eventually finished the bottle… it did not get better. Conversely, I got a bottle of Talisker 10 last August… Just finished it last week. I swear that bottle just got better and better. When I can get really good peated Scotch for $50 a bottle like Talisker 10, Ardbeg 10, Laphroaig 10, Kilchoman Machier Bay why would I waste my time with another Lagavulin 16 when it’s clearly for Ron Swanson hipsters who just want to say “I drink peated Scotch too” but really can’t handle it.

  • While I agree that the 16yr is excellent, I must say the 12yr is a far superior example of everything this scotch can be. Probably the best bottle of scotch I ever purchased in my opinion.