My first published review is my overall favorite Scotch whisky, Lagavulin 16. That may sound a little cliché and hardcore whisky snobs may roll their eyes at me, but I love it. If I had to pick one and only one Scotch whisky to have for the rest of my life, it’d have to be Lagavulin 16. In fact, I’d choose Lagavulin 16 if the choice was one and only one whiskey of any kind… Scotch, Irish or any other type.
Lagavulin 16 was the first Scotch I’d ever tried and I loved it immediately. I’ll admit, I was inspired to dive into the world of single malt Scotch by the Parks and Recreation character Ron Swanson… but Ron did me right. Something about the way he enjoyed Lagavulin got me curious. I was not a whiskey or Scotch drinker at all mind you. In fact, I’ve steered clear of dark spirits since my college days of shooting Jack and chugging Bud, just typing that make my stomach turn and the room spin just a bit… I responsible and moderate drinker is not something I was ever called during college.
Lagavulin in an iconic brand both in terms of Islay Scotches and Scotch whisky from any region of Scotland. It’s a heavily peated whisky that combines smokiness and sweetness to achieve one of the most flavorful, balanced and enjoyable drams I can find.
Now, I should say, many Scotch lovers would likely advise someone new to Scotch to work up to something of the likes of Lagavulin. Starting with Lagavulin might be akin to learning to drive in a Ferrari… but how freakin’ cool would it have been to have learned to drive in a Ferrari?!? :) Often, I hear it recommended that you start with something mild in flavor, sweeter, softer, etc. Then try something lightly peated, move to moderately peated and, if you enjoyed those, move to the heavily peated Islay giants Lagavulin, Laphroaig and Ardbeg. But that’s not what I did. As I did my research, having been inspired by Ron Swanson and seeing the video of Nick Offerman I posted on my About Me page, something in my core told me I was going to love Lagavulin, and I was absolutely right.
With Lagavulin you get the rich peaty flavor, lots of smoke, the medicinal/iodine taste AND the honey sweetness imparted from the oak casks. It may sound strange to say that iodine/medicinal hints are a desirable flavor, but they are. It’s the taste of the salty sea water on the shores of Islay. It’s more than taste too. The iodine/medicinal hints come through in the mouth feel, adding a feeling to your cheeks, gums and tongue that make Lagavulin all the more delicious and memorable.
I set out 2 Glencairn glasses side by side, poured and equal amount into each, added a bit of water to one and was off. I also had a bottle of chilled water to cleanse my palate in between tastings. I’ve since found that a mild soda water like Lacroix is a great palate cleanser when trying multiple whiskies, just be sure to pick something that isn’t too strong on its own, or just stick with water.
Be sure to give plenty of time to nosing Lagavulin, the nosing really is an equally important part of whisky tasting. Here are my tasting notes for this amazing, single malt Scotch whisky. Have a look at Richard Paterson as he goes deep into the glass to fully take in the whisky via nosing.
Lagavulin 16 neat (or straight – no ice, no water)
Color - beautiful heavy amber
Nose - smoke, ash, peat, salt, honey, sea water
Palate - honey, smoke, cinnamon, peaty, slight burn
Finish - heavy, oily, substantial, creamy, slight bitterness
Lagavulin 16 with just a bit of water
Nose - a touch of water brings out the sweetness and medicinal notes, spicier, citrus, lemons
Palate - added water softens the heat, much smoother, increases the smokiness a bit
Finish - still oily and creamy though reduced, decreased bitterness with a little water
A big thanks to my buddy Mark for encouraging me to get this blog up and running and get these reviews posted! Mark owns and operates NW Tree Pros, a Portland Oregon tree service, here in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. I’m dedicating my first review to him and NWTP. He’ll be honored the post mentioning him is about Lagavulin 16!
So realize I haven’t posted any whiskey reviews here in quite some time, which is frustrating since that’s the whole point of this blog… tasting and reviewing whiskey! But alas, sometimes life just gets in the way. So in the last few weeks I’ve attempted to get so descent info up on the site in anticipation of getting my reviews up and going on the blog.
You’ll find a few new pages added as of June 2017: Whiskey 101 and what I consider some of the Best Beginner Whiskeys. I’ve also started a Resources page that I think will benefit beginners. Click any of bold text for that page or use the menu bar at the bottom left to head over to either of those pages.
With the Whiskey 101 I simply tried to get some base level knowledge down for beginners so you’d have a starting point and an understanding of this glorious and ancient hobby. Whiskey has been around for over 1,000 years, so there is tons of info out there, literally tons. What I’ve done here is like the Cliff Notes of the Cliff Notes of Intro to Whiskey, but it should be enough to get you started.
As for my Beginner Whiskeys page, this is strictly my opinion. I’m basing my recommendations on a few factors.
My Resources page will give you a few websites, review sites and YouTube channels to check out to learn about whiskey, see other reviews and generally help you start to understand the drink and your palate. Resources will be a growing page as I will add to it any time I feel there is a site or blog that I believe will benefit you in growing in your understanding and appreciation of whiskey.
So, again, apologies on the long delay… look for the reviews to start rolling out here in the very near future.
Welcome to For Da Luva Whiskay! at www.chroniozprize.com.
I'll be posting my whiskey reviews from time to time, based on what I've got and am trying. Right now I'm focused on Irish Whiskey and Scotch Whisky as I'm just starting my journey with whiskey... I'll definitely be branching out to US and Japanese whiskeys as some point, but for the time being we're keepin' it Celtic!
A couple notes on my whiskey reviews
Head back to my HOME page for more info and resource and feel free to comment as the blog grows, I'd love to hear your thoughts on "the water of life"!
MY WHISKEY LIKES & LOVES
About the Author
I came to the joys of uisce beatha - Irish for whiskey (pronounced ish-ka bah-hah) - later in life, but now I'm diving in!