Lagavulin Double Matured Batch lev 4/503 16 Year Old
Taste Score: 92
Category: Single Malt Scotch, 16 Year Old, Finished Whisky
Whisky Cabinet Score: ★ ★ ★ ☆
Lagavulin 16 Year Old is a crowd favourite among scotch drinkers. It made it to the last chapter of my book, when I answer the "what's my favorite whisky" question (somewhat ironically). Lagavulin Double Matured is part of a limited number of whisky that the distillery releases outside of the popular 16 year old expression. It’s, essentially, fan whisky for people that love Lagavulin.
Fan whisky is a touchy issue, because sometimes it becomes so eccentric that it’s appeal is limited. It’s an opportunity for a distillery to release a limited and sometimes experimental product. In this case, Lagavulin Double Matured is hitting on the right notes for Lagavulin drinkers and more casual scotch enthusiasts.
To understand this whisky it's first best to have a closer look at Lagavulin 16. The star of the lineup is matured in American oak barrels. While American oak is fantastic for vanilla and fruity notes, it lacks the richness of dried fruit found in European oak. Still, Lagavulin 16 is a rich scotch with hints of those dried fruits. The double matured releases of Lagavulin are aged mostly in American oak, and finished in Pedro Ximenez Sherry casks. This brings the sweeter and drier types of flavors more forward in the profile.
European oak finishes on peated whiskies are a challenge. The smoky peated notes are not unlike a delicate sauce—it's best to serve it with a light protein so as to not overcome the main flavour. European oak sweetness can easily take over the palate and compete with the smokiness of a peated whisky.
Lagavulin regularly releases Double Matured scotch, each possibly a little different. Check the labeling on the bottle.
Nose: Warmed caramel, hay, smokiness, and some of that malty orange zest
Palate: Nice soft caramel with a slight sourness spreading through into a zesty finish with some dried prunes mixed in between. It’s a very lively finish that hangs around, getting drier and sweeter by the moment. Quite beautiful, really. The smokiness hovers throughout without being overbearing.
Conclusion: Lagavulin can do little wrong in my books, and this is another impressive release. Balancing overly sherry-finished scotch with peat is challenging, and they nailed it with this release. It’s not too sweet, but it has that sweetness to add texture to the overall whisky.
*Whisky Cabinet Rating Explained:
☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ Not recommended
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ Good whisky, but not a ‘must-have’
★ ★ ☆ ☆ Your great regular rotation whisky that'll come and go
★ ★ ★ ☆ Excellent, a near must-have
★ ★ ★ ★ Extraordinary, memorable, and original