Lagavulin 21. Disappointing?
I decided to crack my Laga 21 open. Something I'd been wanting to do since I first got the bottle.
But I must say, I'm unimpressed. It's probably because I'm still pretty much a novice when it comes to whisky, and I've been drinking the spicier stuff lately (Laga 16, Laph 15, Ardbeg Uigeadail, Talisker 10 & 18, and HP 12).
The aromas coming from the bottle when first opened were amazing, but soon seemed to dissipate. There's no lingering smell like the Laga 16 has. After sticking my nose back in the glass after a while there's nothing delicate that I can discern (but again I am a novice).
It's smooth (even at cask strength).
You know what, I'm gonna pour a dram of Laga 16 and compare them side by side... I'll be right back.
OK, maybe my memory of how the Laga 16 smelled has deceived me somewhat, or maybe it's the vindaloo curry that I had earlier this evening, but the Laga 16's smell is lighter than what I remembered, and much lighter than that of the sherried 21. The 21 is thicker, more buttery. The peat is quite pronounced in both, but I think moreso in the 16.
I'm having great difficulty finding words to describe the smells I'm getting from both whiskies. Here's to tasting then.
The Laga 16 has been sitting in a near empty bottle for a while. Not sure if most of the 43% alcohol has evaporated, or if I just got used to drinking cask strength whiskies, but there's almost no alcohol burn. There's a long aftertaste on the 16, it sticks to the tongue and roof of my mouth like peanutbutter. It appears sweet, even though I know it shouldn't. I still love this whisky, it's what really got me into single malts.
The 21 is an alcoholic monster at it's full 56.5%. Can't inhale too deeply or it makes my eyes water. I can appreciate the buttery, creamy smell more now that I got it side by side with the 16. It's mouthfeel is much thicker, heavier. Some ripe fruit appears in the aftertaste, though I wouldn't be able to tell you which one. The alcohol burn in the mouth is more present in the 21, as you would expect since it is at cask strength. (I'm babbling now, and stating the obvious. Please forgive me.) I've never drunk sherry, but I'm starting to get what it's all about now. There's clearly sherry influence in the 16, but nothing like the 21.
Wow... I think I'm starting to appreciate the 21 more just by comparing it to the 16...
OK, back to the 16 for a minute. Again the lighter smell. I can detect the American white oak, something completely lacking in the 21 (and that's a good thing). I'm detecting some grassiness in the 16 now and some hay. Going back and forth between the two... I gotta say I'm seeing the 21 in a whole new light. I should've done this right when I opened it. I've been having a dram of the 21 for 3 nights in a row without appreciating it's splendor.
Lemme just end this on the conclusion that I'm an idiot and still have so much to learn...