Lagavulin 16 Question

  • Ian_Biluck
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    Member Ian_Biluck
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    @horst_s - I have a question about Lagavulin 16, which so far (in my early whisky tasting career) is my favorite whisky.  I've noticed that reviews of Lagavulin 16 are mostly outstanding, but a few people mention that they feel that it has declined in recent years (since 2013 or so).  They believe that it has become dull and less peaty.  Do you know if this is perhaps due to a few bad batches, or is it due to declining quality?  I know that you have spoken occasionally of declining quality in some cases.  


           I know you did a review/tasting of Lagavulin 16 in May of 2014, but most of the negative reviews have been since then.  Thank you for any insight you can give - I am concerned about the quality of my favorite whisky.

  • SanctTom Member SanctTom Joined: 19.07.2014Posts: 175Ratings: 0
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    Though I'm not Horst I just thought to put my opinion forward...

    Most "classic" expressions have been known to degress slightly over time, due to the fact that in earlier decades older or better casks might have been added to the vattings as the demand for aged whisky hadn't been as heavy as today.

    Lagavulin 16 has been regarded as a favourite by many whisky enthusiasts and has suffered less the some other expressions from this "malady" - even thought the former "White Horse" versions of Lagavulin 16 are indeed superior to the more modern "Port Ellen" versions.

    The most recent decline in quality that you mentioned (as you said, for 2013) is in my opinion not as big as it is made out - it is rather the expanded frame of reference that a lot of people achieved in the last few years of whisky becoming fashionable that leads to this downfall in public reviews.

    There might be a few lesser quality batches (more easily recognized with the Distillers Editions), but I wouldn't worry too much about the overall quality!

    Just my 2 cents, naturally... :wink:

    And malt does more than Milton can To justify God's ways to man. (A. E. Housman)
  • bedlamborn Member bedlamborn Joined: 18.09.2016Posts: 599Collectionbedlamborns CollectionRatings: 21
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    @Ian_Biluck

    Serge at whiskyfun.com tries Lagavulin 16yo every year or so and gives his review on it. Go through these reviews and see what he says.

  • Ian_Biluck
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    @SanctTom thanks for the thoughts 

  • Ian_Biluck
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    @bedlamborn  I'll have to check it out.  Thanks

  • [Deleted User] Joined: 26.08.2016Posts: 0CollectionEmpty Bottle ClubRatings: 160
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    @Ian_Biluck

    Serge at whiskyfun.com tries Lagavulin 16yo every year or so and gives his review on it. Go through these reviews and see what he says.


    Great advice - Serge has one of the most experienced palates on the planet. I would trust his opinion implicitly regarding year-to-year variations.


    Clear alcohols are for rich women on diets. (Ron Swanson)
  • SlàinteMhath Member SlàinteMhath Joined: 09.10.2016Posts: 134CollectionOslo Whisky ClubRatings: 148
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    Serge Valentin's ratings on Lagavulin 16 yo are pretty constant at 5 stars. I know there are some reviewers and commentators who see a decline in quality. However, you should always keep in mind that with a growing experience and a broader range of malts you have tasted, your palate will change and eventually become more sophisticated and demanding. Hence, some people will argue that it is the palate that changes, not the whisky.


    I think it's probably both. Batches do vary and palates change over the years.

    That's what I do. I drink, and I know things.” (Tyrion Lannister)

    >>> Whisky reviews by Slàinte Mhath <<<

  • bedlamborn Member bedlamborn Joined: 18.09.2016Posts: 599Collectionbedlamborns CollectionRatings: 21
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    @SlàinteMhath

    For the Distillers editions there seem to be bigger variations between the batches from what I have read.

  • Ian_Biluck
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    Member Ian_Biluck
    Joined: 11.05.2017Posts: 8CollectionIan_Bilucks CollectionRatings: 9
  • horst_s Administrator horst_s Joined: 01.07.2014Posts: 507Ratings: 702
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    There had been rumors at the distillery in the late 1990s, that they had reduced the peat level to make the whisky more mass compatible. If I remember right, then the time for the first hit to the market must have been around 2013. That matches with the rumors.


    I tasted Lagavulin 16yrs several times in the past. But not in English. I will soon do this together with Ben.

    Kind regards, Horst Luening, Master Taster, Whisky.com
    Diego_Costantini liked that
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