Lagavulin 1996 Distiller’s Reserve

Lag 16 DE 2.jpg

Thanks to /u/Marcovici for this dram.

It comes to no surprise of anyone that I like Lagavulin. For one, I’m a snob. I come from a long line of snobs, snobs who would only sit upon the nicest cushions, drink the finest colas, and laze about only in the finest tea shops.

If you can’t tell from that, I’m of course joking. While I have built up some nice tastes over the years, I can still enjoy a nice simple dram every once in awhile. And that’s what I typically have Lagavulin 16 (the standard) for.

It’s smokey, has the smell of tires, and is pretty tasty. All in all a good dram out.

Thus when the chance to have Lagavulin 16 Distiller’s Edition came about, it was a no brainer. I mean, it’s the standard that I typically have, however with a finish of good PX sherry casks at the end. I like Lagavulin. I like PX finishes.

Again, this is like Chocolate and Peanut butter for me. So, let’s see how it tastes, shall we?

Lag 16 DE 1.jpg

Price: $159.95 (CAD), though I’m not sure if it’s the same edition. All of that brought to you right up the ass by the LCBO.

Region: Islay

Abv: 43%

Colour: 5YR 4/8

Nose: Peat, cranberry bread, chocolate, herbal, light brown sugar, Nutella, nutmeg

Starts out with a stronger peat influence than normal, however the sherry influence pops right out. The light, typical smooth nature of Lagavulin is evident here.

Nuttiness works well with the fruit. So it’s more like Peanut Butter and Jelly. And no one’s got time for that anymore.

Taste: Strawberry, anise, peat, earth, grape, pear

Alright… very subdued here. Typically Lagavulin has a more complex profile at lower alcohol.

This one though? It’s muted, what I expect from other distillers. The sherry and peat get along still, however it’s more like Peanut Butter and Anise at this point.

Finish: Cranberry, brine, banana, cream, fennel

Meh. It’s nice, don’t get me wrong, however I’m expecting something better than the standard, or other Lagavulins, with interesting mixtures between the two.

Instead I’m getting a very light, blah finish that tastes more like a blend of Speysides and Islays than a Lagavulin.

Conclusion: So I think this is good in theory, just not in practise. Or some old method didn’t jive.

Maybe it’s that Lagavulin works best at 43% and only in ex-Bourbon casks, maybe it’s just this time, maybe an angel stole too much, or maybe this cask just wasn’t as good as it could be.

It’s not a bad dram. Far from it, I could probably sip on this regularly and enjoy it. But I wouldn’t because the standard Lagavulin, or the 12, or even some other Islays that exist. This vintage didn’t work out, in the end. Won’t stop me from trying others. I’ve heard good things about the 94.

79/100

Scotch review #437, Islay review #91, Whisky Network review #703

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