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Has Lagavulin 16 yr slipped a couple of notches?

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Has Lagavulin 16 yr slipped a couple of notches?

Postby Finlay Duncan Mac » Wed Nov 13, 2013 5:31 am

I had been a huge fan of the aforementioned Laga 16 yr. old until just recently. I feel completely ripped off. Just spent 130.00 Canadian on a bottle. This is the first bottle of Lagavulin I have bought in quite a few years.It tastes so diluted! I'd like to try another bottle out to compare( maybe I got a bad batch?)but just can't afford to take the risk of it tasting exactly the same! Has anyone else noticed the quality not being what it used to be?Thank you.
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Re: Has Lagavulin 16 yr slipped a couple of notches?

Postby Ganga » Thu Nov 14, 2013 2:58 am

I bought a couple of them 2 years ago. They are much more smoky now than in the past. It is my understanding that the sherry influence has been removed from the 16 now. I will try a newer bottling shortly and get back to you.
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Re: Has Lagavulin 16 yr slipped a couple of notches?

Postby Ganga » Thu Nov 14, 2013 6:51 am

Ok, received a sample of very recent Laga 16. I found it to be quite good. Heavy smoke with an oily palate. What is missing is the sweetness that I found in the 2007 and earlier bottlings (no sherry). There are some lemon notes and what I would describe as a beach bonfire. Very good but not exceptional.
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Re: Has Lagavulin 16 yr slipped a couple of notches?

Postby jmrl » Thu Nov 14, 2013 12:10 pm

Until recently the last time I tried it was about 2 years ago - hardly recognised it - very dissappointed so when I reluctantly got the Mrs one recently I was delighted to find the old style and I got one too.

So hopefully we're experiencing batch variation rather than a drop off in character.

Don't give up. Some guys use bottle codes to find proven batches and avoid batches less to their liking.
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Re: Has Lagavulin 16 yr slipped a couple of notches?

Postby Ganga » Thu Nov 14, 2013 6:18 pm

When you say more like the old style, are you referring to sherry influence or just a better balance on the smoke and oiliness? Every bottle I've tried following the 2007s have not had the sherry influence. 2007 did have the sherry.
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Re: Has Lagavulin 16 yr slipped a couple of notches?

Postby opelfruit » Thu Nov 14, 2013 11:20 pm

In 1997 Lagavulin greatly increased production volumes to try to meet a higher demand. So the new bottlings under the new higher volumes would be bottled during 2013.

I've noticed a quality drop off recently, nothing like it used to be years back. It seems more smokey and less body, a thinner beast with the smoke trying to over compensate for the other miss-givings.

I've moved on in the world now and it's no longer a staple.
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Re: Has Lagavulin 16 yr slipped a couple of notches?

Postby jmrl » Fri Nov 15, 2013 12:04 pm

Not so much the sherry as more of the impressive weight and balance and a welcome lack of simplicity, thinness and immaturity,
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Re: Has Lagavulin 16 yr slipped a couple of notches?

Postby The Third Dram » Fri Nov 15, 2013 3:53 pm

I haven't been very enticed by the 16 Year Old Lagavulin for a while now, and would far rather opt to pay the modest premium in price for the more angular (and interesting to boot) 12 Year Old Cask Strength releases.
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Re: Has Lagavulin 16 yr slipped a couple of notches?

Postby whiskgeek » Sat Nov 16, 2013 2:32 am

jmrl wrote:Until recently the last time I tried it was about 2 years ago - hardly recognised it - very dissappointed


I've posted about this problem before. When I first noticed it, it was simply peaty. The following year, it was very sweet, but still lacking a lot.

I was at the distillery in September, and totally forgot to get Iain's thoughts on this.

Ganga wrote:Ok, received a sample of very recent Laga 16. I found it to be quite good. Heavy smoke with an oily palate. What is missing is the sweetness that I found in the 2007 and earlier bottlings (no sherry). There are some lemon notes and what I would describe as a beach bonfire. Very good but not exceptional.


Good to hear it's improved over the last year or so. I'll miss the sherry, but I love the bonfire.
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Re: Has Lagavulin 16 yr slipped a couple of notches?

Postby bredman » Sat Nov 16, 2013 9:58 am

For whatever reason Diageo took Lagavulin down the designer cask route. Virtually every last cask is ex-bourbon remade into 250L barrels, these then hold grain whisky for the first fill, for several years, then they hold a different malt whisky for a similar length of time. Only then, for the third fill are they filled with Lagavulin. Looks like someone got paranoid about aggressive active wood and made an executive decision lol. Andrew Jefford is told in Peat Smoke And Spirit that the only sherry wood now used is exhausted casks, and only rarely, and increasingly rarer. It was this way for some years before he was told no later than 2004(?). Of course this doesn't include the PX cask finishing for the DE releases.
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Re: Has Lagavulin 16 yr slipped a couple of notches?

Postby Ganga » Tue Nov 26, 2013 4:20 am

Picked up a new bottle of Laga 16. It is much softer than the sample I had a little bit ago. It isn't bad but it is no where near what the old sherry versions of 2007 through 2009. I kind of like this better than getting smoked out.
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