Lagavulin 1998 16 year old Distiller’s Edition

Bottle: Classic whisky bottle styling with the Lagavulin twist. Namely, smoked glass and the shoulder of the bottle slightly flaring outwards. This is the 1998 distillation, batch 4/503, finished in a PX sherry cask.

Nose: Freshly waxed leather, smoked fish at a distance and iodine initially then golden syrup and even shortbread after breathing a little. This is dry and crisp. I like this nose a lot actually.

Body: Medium and velvety. Coats the mouth nicely.

Palate: Effervescent with a good slug of salt and smoke. A little grassy too. The sherry finish adds it own layer to the proceedings as well with some almond and maraschino cherry.

Finish: Very long. It has a nice slow burn to it and a very stable fade. No sudden movements, it just decays at its own stately pace. The palate flavours maintain themselves admirably and right at the end there’s a hint of cherry cola.

Neat/Ice/Water: This 43%’er is a robust dram so you can water/ice it a little if you need to tone it down. Personally I’d keep it neat as this is where it shines.

Verdict: Superior. The PX finish and the smoky profile of Lagavulin collide head on in this beast of a dram. Strong flavours abound and it’s not for the faint hearted or for newbies. The finish is bordering on relentless so you have to take your time. Big salt and smoke hits along with the sherry make it a giant of a dram but I have to be in the right mood to partake of it. A good winter dram and after food I think is where this needs to be. Under those conditions, kapow! Truer Islay fans than I however will probably be even more generous in their praise. At £76 it’s pretty good value. The finish is still going…

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