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If we were to vote for the most appealing single malt of the late 20th Century Lagavulin 16 years old would be a serious contender.
Until 1987, when single malts were responsible for less than 1% of Scotch whisky sales, the Lagavulin standard expression was 12 years old bottled at 43% abv. The 16 years old was introduced as a part of Classic Malts range and gained enormous popularity. The whisky is aged predominantly in ex-bourbon hogsheads with little addition of ex-sherry casks. All Lagavulin malt comes from Port Ellen and is initially dried by hot air and then by local peat to specification of 35 ppm. In the past Lagavulin was associated with Johnnie Walker and White Horse brands, today 98% of the output is bottled as single malt.
Nose: extremely rich, slightly oily, peat smoke, seaweed, dark chocolate, toffee, prunes, baked apples, orange zest, toasted almonds, buttered toast and oak.
Palate: complex, delicate sherry notes, honey roasted almonds, dark chocolate, salted caramel, prunes, dried figs, candied orange peel, pepper and heavy peat smoke.
Finish: long and powerful, dried fruits, peat smoke, hints of cocoa and pepper.