I’m tempted to say that Ron Swanson was the best thing to ever happen to Lagavulin single malt scotch whisky. But he probably wasn’t, despite the legendary pop culture capital heaped upon the brand due to the popularity of the show Parks and Rec. Even though Swanson is probably one of the most memorable comedy characters to appear on modern TV, Lagavulin was kind of bad ass already by the time the show started. It boasts a provocative name, a dark and beautifully foreboding bottle design, a luxurious reputation on the shelf, and most importantly an intimidating peat attack. It was the perfect marriage as I don’t think the whisky gimmick would have worked on the show had Ron chosen Cutty Sark as his beloved dram of choice. And here we are today with the man and his whisky, both inseparable in our minds, sitting there in the famous YouTube clip that I watched every minute of with a glass of Lagavulin 16 in my hand. Glorious.
At this point in our club’s ongoing existence, it stands to reason that we will eventually have to re-review long ago tasted malts. And some of those deserve additional space on our blog as they are prominent brands, like Macallan 12, re-reviewed recently. Lagavulin distillery now boasts an 8, 12, and 25 year old expression, but none command the market share of the mighty 16 year old, the seeming flagship of balance and flavor for the very old establishment. While not the most peated of Islay’s bottlings, as their malt is only peated to 35ppm, the long fermentation, distillation, and maturation all add up to a unique presentation of flavor in the bottle, a bottle the club still cherishes. On to it…
Nose- Elegant, non over-powering peat smoke with aromatic hay. Boiled sweet fruit with raspberries, cantaloupes, among others. Dried fruits of dates and raisins. Floral flourishes with herbs. More fruit this time around than when we last tried it it. Of course, the signature industrial smoke and medicinal notes are still there.
Taste- Viscous and oily. Campfire smoke with burst of melon sweetness. Un-ripened peach.
Finish- Delicious balance of nose and taste. Leather and increased smoke. Medium to long. Tobacco and dark chocolate.
Comment- Still a favorite of ours even while tasted blind. Wonderful balance and collection of flavors. One of Islay’s best.
SWC Rating- 88/100